In a bizarre over reaction to the problem of cigarette butts littering Thai beaches, the authorities are introducing massive fines and jail time for tourists transgressing a no smoking ban, to be introduced in November this year.
Run! It's the beach police
The measure will be introduced initially in 20 of the resorts most popular with foreign visitors including Phuket and Pattaya. The ban, which will come into effect next month, will apply to beaches in the provinces of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan,
Chon Buri and Songkhla, and includes the popular resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya.
t comes after the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) said it had retrieved tens of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand. The head of the department, Jatuporn Buruspat, said that up to 138,000 cigarette butts had
been collected by the environmental group over a 2.5km (1.5 miles) stretch of Patong beach in Phuket. Jatuporn added that the while smoking will be prohibited on the beaches affected by the measure, there will be designated areas further inland
where smokers will be able to smoke and drop their litter in provided containers.
Jatuporn Buruspat said that officials were also considering measures aimed at tackling the related issue of cigarette butts being dropped by tourists from boats.
One of the areas affected is looking forward to the collections of fines. A representative of the Hua Hin authority has announced that tetsakit, tourist police, and what was termed 'beach police' would be patrolling to enforce the ban. On a
slightly more positive note, the Hua Hin authorities are considering a lower fine of 2,000 baht. But it still has to be a terrifying prospect of commission based wardens being a little over-zealous with imaginative enforcement methods.
And in another new measure targeting beach goes, Pattaya authorities have introduced a ban preventing beach vendors from selling alcohol. The measure came into force at the start of October this year but early reports suggest that the new
prohibition is not yet being enforced and that beers and cocktails are still readily available.