The beautiful beaches of Thailand are the victims of their own success in the form of pollution. There are literally millions of cigarette butts littering the beaches, and they represent one third of all waste found in that fine white sand. Action has finally been taken, and smoking is now prohibited on twenty of the most popular beaches in Thailand. Those who disobey this rule risk going to jail for up to one year, but more likely will pay a maximum fine of around 2,500 euros. Now all smokers who want to enjoy these idyllic beaches must put out their cigarettes in the provided containers.
The Thai authorities say that it is necessary to prevent people from throwing their cigarette butts because they are an important source of pollution in the ecosystem. Cigarette butts take a long time to disappear, and in the process of decomposing they give off harmful substances such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. But this measure is also motivated by the fact that Thailand – which ranks sixth on the list of the countries that dump the most garbage into the ocean – has recently hosted in Phuket, the international convention on marine litter – so they hope this new law will improve their international image on this issue.