Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

The ban will first touch the 20 beaches of Thailand, but subject to the success of this event can apply across the country.

After unearthing a large number of cigarette butts on Patong Beach, the Department of Marine and Coastal announced Monday that smoking will be banned at all beaches nationwide.

The Department made a decision to take action after the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre recently found between 63,000 and 138,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5-kilometre stretch of Patong Beach.

The study also found that cigarette butts formed one-third of all the wastes collected. Designated smoking areas will be identified with trash cans and ash trays.

Smoking will be banned on up to 20 beaches in Thailand after a massive amount of cigarette butts were found on the beaches, the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources says.

"The butts clog the drains contributing to floods". The head of the department, Jatuporn Buruspat, said that up to 138,000 cigarette butts had been collected by the environmental group over a 2.5 km stretch of Patong beach in Phuket.

All other beaches were expected to be included into this ban in the future, he said.

The ban, which will come into force next month, will cover beaches in Phuket, Prachuabkirikhan, Chonburi, and Songkhla, as well as the popular resorts of Samui and Pattaya, according to the publication the Bangkok Post.

Laws outlawing beach smoking will be anchored in marine park law, which means that illegal smoking could carry penalties as stiff as fines of THB100,000 (about US$3,000) or up to a year in jail. Mr Buruspat said Thailand had the sixth most littered beaches in the world.

Buruspat said that officials were also considering measures aimed at tackling the related issue of cigarette butts being dropped by tourists from boats.

The measure will be presented October 22-23 during a summit of ASEAN countries about marine debris to be held in Phuket province. Asean countries will discuss the problem of rubbish being dumped into the sea in each country, and how they are dealing with it, Mr Jatuporn added.