Sun, sea, surf and…cigarette butts? Not anymore in Thailand after the government announced new rules aimed at keeping the country’s coasts pristine.
The ban on smoking came into effect on 1 February on some of the most popular beach resorts. The new rules were announced by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) after tens of thousands of cigarette butts were removed from the sand of one 2.5km stretch of beach, equaling a third of the total amount of rubbish collected.
Smokers on the beach will have to use designated smoking areas when they light up in the future. Initially, the new regulations were initially a trial for 20 beaches but proved successful. While the ban hasn’t extended to every beach in Thailand, they do protect many in the Gulf of Thailand.
If caught, smokers can face up to a year in jail or a fine of 100,000 baht. The department also said it would consider further moves to stop tourists on boats flinging their cigarette butts into the sea.
The announcement of the trail came just a month after Thailand announced it would become the first Asian country to join a global effort to clean up its oceans. The DMCR stated that Thailand’s oceans are the 6th most trash-filled in the world and are working to rectify this issue.
The beaches affected by the smoking ban include:
Bo Phut, Koh Samui
Sai Ri, Chumphon
Mae Phim, Rayong
Laem Sing, Chanthaburi
Bang Saen, Pattaya and Tham Pang on Koh Si Chang, Chon Buri
Tha Wa Sukri, Pattani
Hua Hin and Khao Takiap, Prachuap Khiri Khan
Koh Khai Nok
Koh Khai Nai on Koh Yao in Phangnga
Phra Ae and Khlong Dao, Koh Lanta
This article was published on 13 October 2017 and updated on 2 February 2018.