Phuket Marine Biological Center staff search for cigarette stubs in a 9sqm sample area at a depth of 10 centimeters on Patong beach in Phuket province in an undated photo.
After receiving recent data from the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Center revealing that more than 60,000 cigarettes were found on a 2.5 kilometer stretch of sand on Phuket's popular Patong Beach, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department (MCRD) brought the cigarette issue before Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen. Surasak Kanchanarat, who was also disturbed by the findings, reported The Nation.
Head of the Department of Jatuporn Poropat said that the environmental group has gathered 138 thousand cigarette butts along the 2.5 km Patong beach in Phuket.
Hua Hin's municipal "beach police" will target smokers in a move to clean up the resort's beaches as a new rule banning smoking at 20 beaches, nationwide, comes into effect 1 November.
Thailand is to ban smoking on some of the country's most popular tourist beaches, with the prospect of up to a year in prison for those caught lighting up, according to reports by local media.
To prevent throwing cigarette butts into the sea, Jatuporn said he would seek cooperation from the Marine Department to ban smoking on boats.
He also claimed cigarettes have left the country at risk of flooding, with drains clogged by more than 100million cigarette butts dropped on roads in Thailand each day.
Smoking areas will be designated.
The ban will first touch the 20 beaches of Thailand, but subject to the success of this event can apply across the country. "But we will not allow smoking while strolling on the beach because eventually, there is a high chance they will be thrown on the beach".
Thailand will host an worldwide meeting on sea waste in Phuket on Oct 22-23.
Anyone found to be breaking the law will face one year in jail or a maximum 100,000 baht (S$4,080) fine, or both. 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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