PATONG BEACH WATER TURNING A SUSPICIOUS BROWN – Patong Beach is one of the most famous and popular beaches on the island of Phuket, Thailand.
Each year hundreds of thousands of holiday makers venture to Phuket in search of sea, sun and quite often sex.
For years the local Phuket authorities have been battling to suppress reports as to the water quality after a German tourist magazine, approximately two years ago, published as story as to how they discovered the alarming levels of ¹ coliform in some of islands beach waters.
Coliform bacteria are commonly an indication that sanitary and food waste is entering the eco-system and is often found where a large amount of fecal matter is present.
¹ coliform – wikipedia
With the water turning a very unpleasant brown colour many locals are asking if this is in fact human waste, however Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong, Chief of Oceanography at Phuket’s Marine Biological Centre stated to reporters that human waste could in fact be present but only in very small amounts and it is most unlikely to be of such a mass that it would or could turn the water brown.
The official stance on the brown water is that this is an earth-laden run off or a type of algae. Local authorities have taken tests but these are yet unknown and some speculate that the truth may never be told and that an independent test be carried out by experts other than Thais.
According to the Thai authorities they are diligent in checking water quality on all beaches at different points on Phuket to assure tourists that the water is clean and therefore safe to swim in.
There is little doubt that if the waters on Phuket were highly contaminated with bacteria such as coliform it would have a severe impact on the already fragile tourist industry in Phuket.
One insider told us;
“It’s unlikely the Thai authorities will produce any evidence from their tests to indicate if the water is unsafe. It is well established that the Thai authorities will do almost anything to cover up anything that could damage tourism on Phuket and in this case it’s likely the story will be earth-laden run off or some type of algae as Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong is suggesting – if you are looking for the truth don’t expect to find it in Thailand.”
The issue here is; how did the water turn a rather unpleasant brown and considering Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong statement that “human waste could in fact be present but only in small amounts” how could human waste enter the sea water?
We had a chat with another source who informs us that the waste from all the hundreds of hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses is piped directly out to sea.
“Thirty years ago you could sit on Patong beach and see dolphins paying in the coastal water. Today the beach is almost devoid of any form of life; other that the tourist.
Take a stroll along Soi Bangla, a tourist hotspot in Patong and the first thing you’ll notice is the over powering stench of human waste running through the open gutters.
Soi Bangla alone is jam packed with hundreds of prostitution outlets; commonly known as ‘Girly Bars’. Add to this all the shops, restaurant and hotels and where do you think the entire contents of human and other waste goes?
It’s not rocket science to figure out that tourists are basically swimming not in clear tropical waters, as it once was, but in a cesspit of human waste. I stopped swimming in any of the coastal waters in Phuket over 15 years ago because the Thais appear to have no concern about swimmer safety and dumping all the waste in the sea is the easy, fast and cheap option.”
According to Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong the waters, despite the Marine Biological Centre being short staffed, is tested on a regular basis in order to ensure that tourists are safe when swimming in the coastal waters.
Yet again Phuket, Thailand faces challenges of cleaning up the environment and with the continuing and on-going development of the island many feel that the eco-system simply cannot cope and that tourists will abandon the island once its natural beauty has been destroy through the lack of planning and environmental concerns.