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On February 1, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) announced the ban of smoking and littering of cigarette butts and packets on 24 beaches in Thailand. In a push to protect its coastal environment, smoking is now illegal on major beaches including tourist hot-spots like Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi in Thailand.

The ban started as a trial run last November and with the ban now in effect, those who fail to comply will be subject to a fine of 100,000 baht (over $3,100) and/or a maximum jail sentence of one year. Officials will give warnings during the initial implementation of the ban, however it’s unclear how long the warning phase will last before violators are faced with a fine or jail time. There will be 50 designated smoking areas across nearly 3.5 miles of the beach at Cha-am beach in western Thailand. A representative stated that more smoking zones will be added in the future.

The view from one of my favorite Airbnb rentals ever, the Glass Cottage in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Koh Phangan, Thailand.

The ban comes after a survey reported that more than 100,000 cigarette butts were found on Cha-am beach alone. A separate survey revealed that 101,058 cigarettes butts were found on a 1.5 mile stretch of Patong; cigarette butts contribute significantly to pollution.

“One cigarette butt in a liter of water can make it toxic enough to kill fish. For these and other reasons, the Thai authorities determined that banning smoking on those beaches was necessary,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), to The Telegraph.

Thailand has over 350 beaches along its coast, and with the country projected to have over 37 million tourists visit in 2018, officials are hoping to the legislation dramatically reduces its beaches pollution and littering problems. In 2017, over one million American tourists visited Thailand; the United States currently has travel advisories to some areas of the country, but most tourist destinations are open to US residents. The US currently has no national legislation against smoking on its beaches — it’s up to state governments to ban smoking in public places.

The following beaches have the smoking ban in effect as of February 1, 2018:

  • Patong Beach, Phuket
  • Bo Phut Beach, Koh Samui
  • Phra Ae Beach, Krabi
  • Khlong Dao Beach, Krabi
  • Khok Wang Beach, Krabi
  • Wasukree Beach, Pattani
  • Hua Hin Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Khao Takiab Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Ban Cheun Beach, Trat
  • Laem Sade Beach, Chanthaburi
  • Saeng Chan Beach, Rayong
  • Bang Kaen Beach, Chon Buri
  • Tham Pang Beach, Chon Buri
  • Sai Kaeo Beach, Chon Buri
  • Dong Tan Beach, Chon Buri
  • Cha-am Beach, Phetchaburi
  • Hat Said Res Beach, Champhon
  • Chalok Ban Kao Beach, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani
  • Plai Sai Beach, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Chalatat Beach, Songkhla
  • Ko Kai Nok Beach, Phang-nga
  • Ko Kai Nai Beach, Phang-nga
  • Khao Lak Beach, Phang-nga
  • Hat Samran Beach, Trang

H/T: The Telegraph

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