Thailand bans smoking on 24 popular beaches from Feb.1



By APD writer Chen Jiabao

BANGKOK, Feb.1 (APD) -- Thailand's smoking ban on some of the country's most popular beaches comes into effect on Feb.1.

According to the regulation promulgated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 24 beaches in 15 provinces across the country are declared no-smoking zones. Violators face fines of up to 100,000 baht(3,226 U.S. dollars) and/or a year in prison.

The ban affects affect famous 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).

The country’s department of marine and coastal resources undertook a survey of litter on beaches, only to find it a serious problem. The department unveiled that cigarette butts account for one thirds of marine litters.

The department found more than 1770,000 cigarette butts on a beach in southern Thailand's Songkla province.

The smoking ban regulation came into play in last November since it was published on the government website with a 90-day trail. During the trail period, tourists were warned, signs written in Thai, English and Chinese were seen on most the beaches.

According to officials, the regulation aims to reduce marine pollution and bring beaches fresh air. More beaches are expected to be listed in the future.