Thailand Bans Smoking on Popular Beaches
By Faith Magbanua, October 12, 2017 03:10 AM
More than 20 popular beaches in Thailand are to become smoking free areas as measures to prevent people from smoking in the beach have been implemented.
On Wednesday, a smoking ban has been introduced by Thailand on beaches across the country and those who will be caught violating the law will be facing up to a year in prison.
According to Bangkok Post, the ban, effective from November 1, will be imposed on popular beaches across Thailand, including Patong beach in the southern city of Phuket, the eastern city of Pattaya and Hua Hin and Cha Am south of the capital.
The measure will apply to up to 20 beaches in areas, including the popular tourist destination of Phuket.
It comes after the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) reported that it had retrieved tens of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand throughout the beaches in the country.
The DMCR also said that discarded waste made up a third of all rubbish collected.
The head of the department, Jatuporn Buruspat, said that about 138,000 cigarette butts had been collected by the environmental group over a 2.5km (1.5 miles) stretch of Patong beach in Phuket alone.
Buruspat added that while smoking will be prohibited on the beaches affected by the measure, there will be "designated areas" further inland where smokers will be able drop their litter "in provided containers".
The penalty for violating the ban is up to a year in prison or a possible fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,000; £2,280).
Thailand primarily implemented the ban on 20 beaches but said that if it is successful, the measure could be uniformly adopted nationwide.
Buruspat also added that officials were also considering procedures that aims to tackle the related issue of cigarette butts being dropped by tourists from boats.
Thailand is a popular beach destination, with the government predicting a total of 35 million tourist arrivals this year.
Thailand has been judged to have the sixth most rubbish-strewn sea in the world, a problem which needs to be tackled with proper legal measures, he said.
Thailand will host an international meeting on sea waste in Phuket on Oct 22-23. ASEAN countries will discuss the problem of rubbish being dumped into the sea in each country, and how they are dealing with it, Jatuporn added.
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