This regulation was implemented after an analysis of renowned Patong beach in Phuket, found an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square metre, equating to approximately 101,058 butts across a 2.5km-long beach.
The survey was carried out by Thailand’s department of marine and coastal resources, which referred to the situation as a “serious problem”, as the cigarette butts alone made up a third of the rubbish collected on the beach.
“Cigarettes have a direct effect on the natural environment,” director general Jatuporn Buruspat. “The butts clog the drains contributing to floods. When the cigarettes stay under the beach sand for a long time, it also negatively affects the ecosystem. And then when the chemicals from the cigarette butts reach the water, it also releases cadmium, lead, arsenic and some acid from insecticide which are poison to the natural food chain.” he added.
Offenders can face up to a year of prison
The ban will go into full effect next November, and will affect 20 beaches including Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city). Any smokers caught lighting up on these beaches will face up to a year of imprisonment.
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