Tuesday, 5th February 2013
THAILAND A POLLUTED AND TOXIC DUMPING GROUND – You would think that a so called popular tourist destination, as the Thai Tourist Authority of Thailand likes to market it, would ensure the safety and well being of its foreign tourist. Unfortunately, when it comes to Thailand and its administrators, they care little about the safety of tourists and providing the money keeps rolling in to fill their corrupt pockets they are quite happy.
Sadly, as with any eco-system that is not carefully looked after, it corrodes and with the level of corruption it deteriorates at a much faster pace, as government officials look the other way after having their pockets stuffed full of cash.
The environment is a delicate thing and requires a certain balance in order to maintain its health and the health of us humans. When we blatantly abuse the eco-system Mother Nature will fight back by producing toxins that will cause serious harm and even death.
An island, Koh Racha, used to be one of the most stunning islands in the Andaman Sea. It was lush, green and the diving sublime but unfortunately greedy Thais viewed the island as yet another way to dip into the pockets of foreign tourists and set about a plan of development that has now turned the island into a lethal toxic dump with a cocktail of high levels of Mercury, Cadmium and Fecal bacteria, which is now putting the lives of tourist at a very real level of peril.
”If Phuket loses its reputation for caring for and protecting its natural environment, it will quickly lose its charm for tourists,” Phuket Vice Governor Dr Sommai told yesterday’s meeting at Rawai municipal offices in southern Phuket.
The statement above, by Dr Sommai, is the typical response from the Thai authorities. Their primary concern, as you can clearly read, is not for the environment but rather for the tourist dollar.
There have been many foreign experts who have expressed their concern over the environment, not just on Racha but also on Phuket. As the Thais continue to develop, even on so-call protected forests and mangroves, the ecology is falling apart and these once beautifully and stunning tropical islands are now no more than a mix of inadequate infrastructure and an unsightly garbage dump.
Will the situation improve? Sadly the answer is no. The truth here is that on the island of Phuket, which also governs other islands such as Racha, there are no less than 18 Administrative bodies and none are capable or willing to put aside their own greed for the sake of the environment.
The government officials have been more than aware of one particular offender that has damaged the eco-system considerably since its construction, that being the Rayaburi Resort. It was only last year that the resort was found responsible for unloading construction barges and in the process destroying the coral reefs along the coast line and inflicting other permanent damage to the eco-system.
A recent survey found that with the resorts now burying their waste under the beaches and with no form of adequate human waste disposal – it is simply piped out to the sea, the level of pollutants have now reached critical level that will cause serious illness and even death to tourists visiting and holidaying on the island.
Drinking water, it has been established, has been severely affected by the dumping of garbage and sewage and in fact is so toxic that well water can no longer be used for even washing due to the toxic levels of Mercury, Cadmium and Human Fecal bacteria.
Of course the so called authorities are blaming their lack of action and basic law enforcement on the scarce government funding whereas the truth mostly likely lies within the corrupt payments that have been made so that the authorities do not interfere with the money making schemes.
As far as the Rayaburi Resort is concerned it has undertaken no wrongdoing and that the environmental problems have been caused by other third parties, although there are no clear indications who these third parties may be.
To date the owners of the Rayaburi Resort have refused to meet with the authorities to explain their waste management practices, which is not surprising considering there doesn’t seem to be any other than dumping their garbage in ditches and pumping raw sewage into the sea – the sea that the tourists swim and dive in.
Will this situation improve or dare I say remedied? Most unlikely appears to be the overall consensus as corruptive practices are embraced and encouraged in order for those in power to continue to fill their pockets.
As for the tourists; it is clear that tourist numbers are declining, well at least from the Western Hemisphere, as they become aware of the growing issues of holidaying in an environment that is life threatening.
While the government and its spin doctors paint an ever growing rosy picture of the tourist figures in Thailand, it is obvious, for anyone on the ground to see that these figures are simply a fabrication in order to hide the fact that tourism in Thailand is dying at a rapid pace.
The sad fact here is that Thailand could be a wonderful place to visit and places like Racha Island and Phuket really should be the jewel in the Andaman Sea. Unfortunately both of toxic waste dumps that are putting tourist’s health at a very real risk and the authorities could not care less just so long as they can fill their pockets.