An order has been issued by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to prohibit smokers from entering 24 beaches in 15 provinces, effective from February 1. As a result, anyone found smoking on those beaches will be subject to a prison term up to one year or a fine up to 100,000 THB or both. Nonetheless, smoking areas have been set up outside the beaches, with proper bins provided for cigarette butts.
According to a survey conducted on the popular Patong Beach in Phuket by the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center for the Andaman Sea, as many as 130,000 cigarette butts were found on the beach over a distance of 2.5 km. This led to an estimate that there are over 100 million cigarette butts on all beaches in Thailand.
Cigarette butts are a serious threat to the environment as they are not biodegradable. They can cause blockage of waterways and release toxic chemicals into the water, affecting the marine ecosystem.-VNA