No smoking on Thailand beaches

Sun, sand, and smokeless: Cigarettes soon to be banned from Thai beaches

It begins next month and, if successful, will be uniformly adopted across all of Thailand's beaches.

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

The Marine and Coastal Resources Department has said those caught violating the law facing up to a year in prison, according to BBC.

Jatuporn Buruspat, of the Phuket Marine Biological Center, said he expected the ban to be extended to all of the country's beaches.

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.

The DMCR also said that discarded waste made up a third of all rubbish collected. This translated into 101,058 butts along the 2.5km beach.

More than 20 popular beaches in Thailand are to become smoking free areas as measures to prevent people from smoking in the beach have been implemented.

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. However, authorities said smoking zones adjacent to beaches will be set up before the ban becomes effective. The designated areas will have containers where smokers should deposit the butts after smoking. On violating the ban, there is a provision of one-year imprisonment or a possible fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,000), as per BBC.

Thailand will host an global meeting on sea waste in Phuket on Oct 22-23.

His department is also considering measures to curb a related problem - cigarette butts being dropped into the sea from the boats. Mr Buruspat said Thailand had the sixth most littered beaches in the world. Asean countries will discuss the problem of rubbish being dumped into the sea in each country, and how they are dealing with it, Mr Jatuporn added.

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