Thailand to ban smoking at 20 popular beaches

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The law stipulates the fine should not exceed THB100,000.

The move comes after the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources checked nine square metres of Patong Beach in Phuket and found an average of 0.76 butts per square metre, the report said. The head of the department, Jatuporn Buruspat, said that up to 138,000 cigarette butts had been collected by the environmental group over a 2.5 km stretch of Patong beach in Phuket.

The ban, which will come into play in November, 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).

Thailand primarily implemented the ban on 20 beaches but said that if it is successful, the measure could be uniformly adopted nationwide.

"To ensure tourists are aware of the smoking ban, we will erect signs with the ban announcements on the beaches of Phra Ae, Klong Dao and Klong Kwang", Wittaya Khunsan, chief of Krabi's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said yesterday.

It represents one third of all beach waste. When exposed to water, toxic chemicals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and insecticide derivatives are released, that are toxic to the food chain.

Now the patrols are about to migrate to the beaches a happy hunting ground for fine ticketing wielding police.

Thailand is introducing a smoking ban on popular beaches across the country including Phuket and those caught violating the law will face up to a year in prison.

Definitely, non-smokers will be rejoice as they will be able to sit on the seashore without having to remove cigarette buts from their swimming costumes.

He added that the announcements would be made in Thai, English and Mandarin. At the same time near the coastal areas will be equipped with special areas for Smoking. However, authorities said smoking zones adjacent to beaches will be set up before the ban becomes effective.

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