Thailand bans smoking on 20 beaches to prevent pollution.
Starting on the 1st of November those caught smoking and/or littering could receive fine of up to THB 100,000 and/or time in jail.
Beaches named included Bang Saen, Pattaya main bay, Jomtien near Pattaya, Chonburi Beach, Cha-Am Beach, Khao Takiab, Phetchaburi, Bo Phut Beach, Sairee Beach, Patong , Phuket, Samila Beach, Songkhla.
According to data from the Center for Research and Development of Marine and Coastal Resources, the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand beach resorts are littered with trash and cigarette butts. Based on observations of an area of 9 square meters at a depth of 10 centimetres officials said there were an estimated 130,000 cigarette butts floating in the sea at popular beach venues.
It represents one third of all beach waste. On the roadsides across Thailand, the estimate runs to more than 100 million cigarette butts. When exposed to water, toxic chemicals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and insecticide derivatives are released, that are toxic to the food chain.
Read more on TTRWeekly.
As a non-smoker, this makes sense to me but it all comes across as rather draconian and very un-Thai. Not sure how it will be monitored in reality. Thailand already prohibits the import of electric cigarettes and there are fines for their use in public. That makes a lot sense to me as I really object to walking through clouds of perfumed smoke, probably even more than normal cigarettes.
Interestingly, there will still be designated smoking areas with trash cans and ashtrays for those that want to smoke on the shore line .
Most of the beaches selected are the most popular with mass tourism, except Bo Phut in Samui, where Chaweng would have been the most obvious choice. I am sure there are rational reasons behind this specific Samui decision but they are not clear to me .
There are some very valid reasons behind this no smoking decision and ultimately, if it is good for the environment it must be a good thing.