BANGKOK, 28 August, 2017: Thailand’s Pollution Control Department’s named the country’s top beaches that gained a five star rating in its latest study of nationwide pollution.
The recently completed coastal and marine environment quality evaluation project awarded five-star ratings to 13 beaches around Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported Friday.
According to the Pollution Control Department, this year’s beach evaluation was based on an assessment of water quality that included both solid waste and pollution in the sea; plastic and oil pollution and residue; coastal and beach trash management; condition of reefs and national park resources; environmental control, and tourism management.
TAT governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, argued that the result showed that “everyone was working together to ensure sustainable environmental management of the country’s pristine beaches and valuable marine resources.”
Various government departments, led by the Pollution Control Department (PCD), worked on the rankings as part of a much wider report on the state of pollution in the country.
The five-star beaches were: Toei Ngam Beach in Sattahip (Royal Thai Navy jurisdiction) Chon Buri; Laem Sala Beach in Sam Roi Yot National Park, Prachuap Khiri Khan; Ao Manao (5th Aviation Division jurisdiction), Prachuap Khiri khan; Ao Ka Beach, Sam Sao Beach and Tham Rang Beach in Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park, Surat Thani; Thai Mueang Beach in Khao Lampi – Hat Thai Mueang National Park, Ao Kuek Beach in Mu Ko Similan National Park, Mai Ngam Beach in Mo Ko Surin National Park, Phang-nga; Laem Tanot Beach and Ko Rok Beach in Mu Ko Lanta National Park and Bileh Beach in Than Bok Khorani National Park, Krabi and Li Di Beach in Mu Ko Phetra National Park Satun.
Beaches that are in Thailand’s National Parks are often closed during the rainy season to allow them to rejuvenate for six months. They also attract fewer foreign tourists due to the hefty THB 400 minimum entrance fee.
Two of the beaches are controlled by the military, one about 30 km south of Pattaya beach and the other south of Hua Hin on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand.
All the winners were in either at secondary destinations or national parks where commercial tourist activities are limited, or banned entirely.
For example, TripAdvisor named four Thai beaches in its top 10 in Asia; Railway Beach and Phra Nang in Krabi and Kata Noi and Nai Harn in Phuket. They didn’t figure in the five-star category as far as Thailand’s Pollution Department was concerned
The absence of Phuket beaches on the five-star list reaffirms just how popular resorts, that once had five-star beaches, are now in serious jeopardy.
One exception on the list was the national park beach on Lanta Island in Krabi province, well south of Phuket island, that became a popular tourist island following the shooting of the movie “The Beach.” However, the rolling southwest monsoon with its heavy seas and rain closes most of the beach restaurants and bars. Very few tourists venture to the island, May to October. The enforced annual hibernation aids the conservation of the island.
Pollution Control Department director-general Jatuporn Bupphaipat said the study “assessed the environmental quality of beaches related to tourism to be used an indicator of the environmental quality of beaches and a source of information to prevent and resolve environmental beach problems.”
The Pollution Control Department launched its beach star rating in 2002 and has continued to expand the scope of its study annually. It has rated 390 beaches around Thailand. From that total, Bileh Beach in the Than Bok Khorani National Park, Krabi has consistently gained a five-star ranking.
(Source: TAT and PCD)