From February 1st, 24 beaches in Thailand were declared as no-smoking zones, under the regulations of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Anyone who violates this smoking ban will be strictly punished. Fines can go up to 100,000 baht and/or a year in prison. This move shows the determination of Thailand to end pollution and drain damage on Thai beaches caused by discarded cigarette butts.
The ban started as a way to protect coastal resources. In tourism industry, coming along with money are untold thousands of cigarette butts in the sand. Chala That beach in Songkla is among the most littered ones with 1770,000 cigarette butts found in the tested area of sand, according to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. The department conducted a survey and described it as a “serious problem” of beaches in Thailand. In details, discarded butts makes up for a third of the collected rubbish. More seriously, the butts can clog drains, causing floods. Also, the cigarettes also have a negative influence on the eco system if they stay under the sand for a long time and poison the natural food chain.
The twenty four beaches with smoking ban in Thailand are:
- Ban Cheun Beach, Trat
- Laem Sade Beach, Chanthaburi
- Saeng Chan Beach, Rayong
- Bang Kaen Beach, Chon Buri
- Tham Pang Beach, Chon Buri
- Sai Kaeo Beach, Chon Buri
- Dong Tan Beach, Chon Buri
- Cha-am Beach, Phetchaburi
- Hua Hin Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
- Khao Takiab Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
- Hat Said Res Beach, Champhon
- Bo Phut Beach, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
- Chalok Ban Kao Beach, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani
- Plai Sai Beach, Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Chalatat Beach, Songkhla
- Wasukree Beach, Pattani
- Patong Beach, Phuket
- Ko Kai Nok Beach, Phang-nga
- Ko Kai Nai Beach, Phang-nga
- Khao Lak Beach, Phang-nga
- Phra Ae Beach, Krabi
- Khlong Dao Beach, Krabi
- Khok Wang Beach, Krabi
- Hat Samran Beach, Trang
Chao Sam Ran beach in Muang district is also supposed to be the next one. Pamphlets printed in Thai, Chinese and English are being handed out to visitors to raise public awareness. Officials also cooperate with shops to warn customers about the ban and advise them to go to the smoking areas if they can’t help smoking.
Before travelling to Thailand, please note this down. More beaches or even al beaches will be added in the future so please don’t smoke or litter on any beaches in Thailand.