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Phuket Opinion: Up the creek

PHUKET: The wastewater treatment plant at Bang Tao finally coming onstream this week is welcome news. The plant comes as part of a decentralised “cluster” strategy to have one small plant in Bang Tao and another at Surin Beach, where the “black pool” of water has been a feature on the sand every time it stops raining for more than a decade.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 3 March 2019, 09:00AM

The afternoon sun shines off the putrid pool of black water on Surin Beach, which is hoped to soon become a blight of the past. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The afternoon sun shines off the putrid pool of black water on Surin Beach, which is hoped to soon become a blight of the past. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The issue of wastewater on our major tourist beaches gets passing recognition each year, but the simple infrastructure needed to deal with the problem still fails to arrive in time to stave off incident after incident.

Only on Jan 18 this year, Pralong Dumrongthai, Director General of Pollution Control Department (PCD), in his statement on the Thailand State of Pollution 2018 report noted, “The major courses of deteriorated water and coastal water quality were the insufficient wastewater treatment systems.”

The PCD has for years warned of the impact of wastewater on the environment, health and tourism.

“Solid waste, waste and effluent from resort restaurants and other service places, as well as oil spills caused by travel and passenger boats, cause seawater quality to deteriorate.” the PCD itself noted in 2017.

“These problems have resulted in coastal resources, the underwater marine ecosystem as well as the scenery of tourist attractions to deteriorate and affect the health of tourists and local people, and has an impact on tourism and the economy.”


And still wastewater is low on official agendas. The only understanding we can make of this is the attitude that when you’re busy offloading a public relations offensive after an incident involving tourists dying, you can afford to ignore them getting sick.

The days of Phuket officials relying on the annual southwest monsoon and passing storms to flush out our bays and to pretend that putrid canals don’t cast a stain on our tourism industry – never mind the health of local people – are long gone. The number of people on the island has passed the tipping point for our natural resources to soak up our spillage.

As such, we’ll take any move in the right direction. The Bang Tao wastewater plant has taken far too long to arrive, and along with the Surin Beach plant comes at a heady cost of B335 million – but we’ll take it anyway.

It’s better than having nothing at all.

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christysweet | 05 March 2019 - 15:59:41

With no rain for grass to grow and cover it, the  visible trash lining every single road is beyond atrocious. Not one day  goes by when I'm out and about  that I do not see a Thai tossing their garbage on the ground. Nothing can change until Thais change. Fat chance.

Pauly44 | 05 March 2019 - 10:39:55

Firstly Phuket needs to make money 24/7/365 for the greedy inhabitants regardless of environmental impact authorities don't have the brains or backbone, secondly whatever would the serial defender do all day if he could not spout his verbal vomit on this forum? 

Fascinated | 04 March 2019 - 22:27:12

Yes.... what would you do with your life without this site. As for the other commentator;s Boracay suggestion he has clearly never been there. Boracay is a SMALL island, Phuket is a BIG island. They are completely different.

DeKaaskopp | 04 March 2019 - 10:40:31

"Shutting down Phuket like Boracay"That would be the end for the PN probably and therefore for this comment section too. What about the serial whingers ?Where can they post their rant ?

Fascinated | 04 March 2019 - 09:28:20

Time to shift attention to Kamala. The middle khong is full of black water at the moment and the stench of ammonia from stale urine and other sewage is oppressive. Quality Tourist Destination my backside.

Timothy | 04 March 2019 - 08:29:55

Phuket should be shut down like Boracay until infrastructure is built. That  would never happen here though. Greed and corruption rules. They will keep trying to squeeze every satang out of Phuket till it's a complete disaster. They spend 335 million on a "prototype" sewage treatment system. Why not bring in experts and proven technology? Most likely a useless concrete holding tank. 

Kurt | 04 March 2019 - 01:38:52

.... Point is that Officials not care about tourists safety, health, and what ever more.  They let tourists come, empty their wallet, and let them go home. Back at home develop skin, eye, ear and nose diseases due to the polluted Phuket beach waters. But in Government here, who cares? Wounded or killed, get them out back to own country asap, and case forgotten. Tourist = business only.

vegasbaby | 03 March 2019 - 22:23:17

Hopefully Phuket will not need to be shut down like Boracai in order to build up the infrastructure to keep tourists safe, healthy and alive.

Kurt | 03 March 2019 - 15:12:10

A Opinion that hit the nail on the head! Great.
The explanation of how officials not handle long time environment problems is similar with the decades  'talks' about a water pipe line from Phang Nga to Phuket to tackle in a simple way Phuket's water problems.  The problems are not the problem! The big problem on Phuket is: ..Officials..  Lack of 4.0 Vision, lack of being able.

BenPendejo | 03 March 2019 - 09:45:38

Just wait for the rain, and both of these systems will be overwhelmed and spewing filth into the sea. The BT system discharges its effluent onto the shore between a nice hotel and a popular beach club. The water there remains foul, and is also notorious for the sand build up which creates its own stenching sewage pond. These projects are a mere step in the right direction, but woefully inadequate

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