Thailand is set to introduce a smoking ban on 20 of its most popular beaches.
The trial is to combat the increase in trash especially cigarette butts on the country’s beaches. A recent government survey found that Thai beaches have on average 0.76 cigarette butts per square meter/10 sq. ft. During the sample survey on one of the country’s most popular beaches, over 100,000 cigarette butts were found on a 2.5km/1.5-mile stretch of beach.
The ban will come into effect in November and will affect beaches including: Patong, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket), Hua Hin, Cha-Am, and Koh Khai Nok.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the government is bringing in the ban for two reasons: Firstly, discarded butts clog storm drains, increasing the risk of flooding. Secondly, when the discarded butts are buried under the sand they have a negative impact on the ecosystem of the beach and damage its delicate balance.
Anyone found guilty of violating the ban will face a fine of 100,000 baht (£2,285/$3020/2555 Euros) or a year in prison, or possibly both. The ban is being implemented on a trial basis and if successful will be rolled out to beaches across the country.