Thailand imposes smoking ban in 20 popular beaches

Thailand has banned smoking in 20 popular beaches including the most popular Phuket islands

Smoke rises from a burning cigarette as a woman smokes on the street in Bordeaux
Picture for representation Reuters

Thailand is all set to ban smoking in 20 popular beaches, which includes Phuket Islands, the hottest destination among the tourists. Cigarette butts in beach sand is a very serious issue faced by authorities in Thailand, and the new rule is expected to curb public smoking in the Thai beaches.

As per local media reports, people who violate the law will get a punishment of one year in prison. Violating the rule will also fetch a fine of 100,000 baht ($3,000; £2,280).

Bangkok Post reports that the ban will be imposed from November in beaches of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. The ban will be also applicable in the popular resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya where millions of tourists visit annually. Upon successful implementation in the 20 beaches, the authority aims to extend the rule in other areas too.

A move to cleanse popular Thai beaches

The decision to ban smoking comes soon after the survey conducted by country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, which found an average of .76 cigarette butt per square kilometer in the sample area on Patong Beach, Phuket. Statistics also estimated more than one lakh cigarette butts in the island, which stretches up to 2.5 kilometers.

The study also found that cigarette butts formed one-third of all the wastes collected. Jatuporn Buruspat, the Department of Marine and Coastal resources head told that 138,000 cigarette butts were collected from the Patong beach.

Even though smoking is going to be banned in these islands, there will be specifically designated areas where people can smoke. The designated areas will have containers where smokers should deposit the butts after smoking.

"The butts clog the drains contributing to floods. When the cigarettes stay under the beach sand for a long time, it also negatively affects the ecosystem. And then when the chemicals from the cigarette butts reach the water, it also releases cadmium, lead, arsenic and some acid from insecticide which are poison to the natural food chain," said Buruspat to Phuket Gazette.