Connect with us

Thai Life

Thinking Green: Striking a beach balance

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: “We need chairs,” are the plaintive cries in the press, demanding a return to the old model of endless rows of deck chairs and umbrellas. Meanwhile, the vendors are crying, “Our businesses have been hit badly.”

And at the same time, environmentalists are claiming, “Our natural treasures are being directly influenced by coastal law enforcement, pollution, construction, density of vendors and litter management.”

These are all interests in the current discussions about the policy and management of our beaches.
Phuket’s beauty and mystique has, for many years, beckoned those seeking paradise. Until the 1970s, Phuket had been largely undeveloped. Starting in the 1980s, the sandy beaches and the western coast of the island quickly started to become a tourist haven.

The tourism industry continued to grow until the tsunami hit the island on December 24, 2004. But the damaged buildings were quickly restored and Phuket continued on its path of intense development. As of the 2010 census, there were some 520,000 people residing on the island, including 119,000 foreigners and 68,000 migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Expected tourist arrivals in 2015 are 24.71 million, a decrease from the year earlier by 6.93 per cent, but this year’s overall arrivals could reach 28.36 million, generating about 1.29 trillion baht from foreign travellers and 800 billion baht locally. These figures can be impacted by fluctuations in overseas economies and, in particular, the launch of the Asean Economic Community.

With so much human pressure, Phuket’s environment has undergone some dramatic changes. The new government has taken action to establish a more integrated approach to Phuket’s development and environment management, resulting in the rehabilitation of coastal eco-systems for sustainable livelihoods and disaster-risk reduction.

It is a good time to take stock. Tourism is one of the two mainstays of Phuket’s economy, and many tourists come to Phuket for its famous white sand and clean marine waters.

The halt on beach encroachment by restaurants and vendors offering sunloungers and umbrellas, as well as jet-skis, will allow some breathing space for wider consultation, before the cumulative effects of pollution that threaten to overwhelm nature’s resilience mechanisms take hold.

The current consultations must take into account all the long-term sustainable interests for Phuket,
as laid down in the Phuket Sustainability Indicator Report also known as SEEK (Society, Environment, Economy & Knowledge).

Following the model of SEEK would steer the current community discussions into a sustainable course for the beaches, the seas and watercourses, and the business hinterland. Economic interests would be balanced against the need to protect the environment long into the future, and would ensure that our society is strong and the interests of every person protected, whether they be local, migrant workers or long-term or short-term visitors.

Local and community ownership would empower and enable community volunteer groups working with other stakeholders to manage the beach conditions, water quality monitoring and the management of waste.

The government has given us the chance to contribute to the future management of our beaches. We should embrace this chance while we have it.

— Dr Peter W Harris


Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand58 seconds ago

Good Morning Thailand | What’s happening in Pattaya, Phuket sandbox, reopening for tourism

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 mins ago

25 vaccination sites put on hold in Bangkok

Phuket45 mins ago

Ambulance crashes into a lightpole in Phuket

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand1 hour ago

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport task force cracks down on drug trafficking

ASEAN1 hour ago

Southeast Asia sees highest tally of Covid-19 infections in a single day

Chiang Rai2 hours ago

Chiang Rai: man robs a bank that’s inside a Tesco Lotus

Best of2 hours ago

Top 10 Private Villas in Thailand

Drugs2 hours ago

Over 1.5 kilos of heroin found hidden in notebooks at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 3,355 new cases and 17 deaths

Best of3 hours ago

Top 5 Tax Firms in Thailand

Malaysia3 hours ago

Lockdown extended for another 2 weeks in Malaysia

Food3 hours ago

Top 10 Restaurant-Bars in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Low immunity levels in some, despite 2 doses of AstraZeneca, Sinovac

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Confusion, delayed appointments, and finger pointing: Thailand’s vaccine rollout in disarray

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Vietnam strikes deal to manufacture vaccines, but which brand?

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8