A top Phuket-area army leader inspected Kata Beach in Karon and Freedom Beach in Patong after photos of black water on the popular tourist shorelines went viral.
Lt. Gen., Santi Sakuntanak, Army Region 4’s commander, said the inspectin was to increase confidence in both tourists and locals regarding the safety and conservation of the beaches.
Even as Northern Thailand is being choked by deadly PM 2.5 smog that has made Chiang Rai look like a scene out of “Blade Runner 2049”, the southern beaches were being fouled by black water.
Photos of Patong Beach with black water went viral on social media this week. The “Drone Boat Patong” Facebook page posted multiple photos with the message “Black seaweed at Patong Beach has affected confidence in tourism.
“Swimmers are not entering the water due to caution and concern. Social media users are calling for relevant authorities to investigate and address the problem before it damages Phuket tourism.”
The army must be reading Facebook, as they showed up the next day.
Santi emphasized the importance of tourist safety and cooperation in conserving the environment and nature. He also warned that anyone who breaks the rules and regulations, such as setting up buildings on the beach for personal gain, will face maximum legal action.
Santi stressed the urgency of managing the beaches and nature, and preventing actions that may harm the environment.
Officials are taking steps to prevent encroachment on natural resources by local business owners, illegal fishing, and pollution that could damage the environment.
The Covid-19 pandemic and lack of tourists have helped to heal beaches naturally across Thailand, prompting officials to take their responsibility to protect the environment for the future seriously.