Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

Horse riding on Hua Hin beach, a popular activity for domestic and global tourists.

The move comes ahead of an global conference on sea waste in Phuket later this month, Thai media reported.

The Marine and Coastal Resources Department plans to ban smoking on beaches around the country next month after thousands of cigarette butts were found in the sand.

Jatuporn said he chose to take action after the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre found in a recent survey that there were anything from 63,000 to 138,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5-kilometre stretch of Patong Beach.

The DMCR also said that discarded waste made up a third of all rubbish collected.

"The butts clog the drains contributing to floods".

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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.

Thailand government is all set to ban smoking at beaches after massive amount of cigarette buds were found in the sand.

"Smokers will be required to drop their cigarette butts in provided containers before they enter these beaches..."

The ban, which will come into play in November, will affect 20 beaches including Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city). "They can drop their cigarette butts there but they will not be allowed to stroll on the beach while smoking", Jatuporn said. Officials are also looking into the issue of tourists dropping cigarette butts from boats.

The ban is due to come into force later this month as Phuket prepares to host an global conference on sea waste.

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