Thailand is banning smoking on most of its beaches including top hotspot Phuket. The move comes in response to Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) reporting it had picked up tens of thousands of cigarette butts from the country’s beaches – making up a third of all beach waste.
Anyone caught smoking where it is prohibited risks a year’s imprisonment or fine of up to 100,000 batt (£2,280). As a concession there will be smoking areas further inland.
Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the DMCR said that his team had collected up to 138,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5km stretch of Patong beach in Phuket. Officials are also looking into the issue of tourists dropping cigarette butts from boats.
The ban will be trialled in November and will affect 20 beaches including Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city).
The ban is expected to be enforced on all Thai beaches, as well as on passenger and tourist boats, to tackle the problem of butts damaging the underwater environment.
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