Not long ago, Dongtan was very clean and popular, as the area was well maintained. Because of the increased number of visitors in recent years, however, parts of the beach have turned into a public toilet and bags of garbage have been seen in the area, especially near where the beach connects to the Pratamnak area.
Plastic bags litter the area near the beach, whilst not far away, there is a smelly bush area being used as a public toilet.
The blight was particularly evident on New Year’s Eve at Pratamnak Soi 5. The beach was packed with tourists and beach vendors. Many people who walked along the footpath could not miss the smell of urine from the bushes. There are no toilets or restrooms provided for tourists in this area and the place seems to get worse every day. The “keep clean” signs are simply ignored with bottles and garbage bags gradually piling up.
“Years ago, this place was pleasant and not as busy as it is now. The beach vendors weren’t as numerous and the beach was more spacious. Now that this place has got more popular, the beach is not all that clean anymore an I’m surprised that this section does not have a restroom,” said Stephan Stockly, a 62-year old British tourist who visits every winter.
“I normally see tourists and locals disappear into the bushes near the footpath to do their personal business, leaving an awful smell when you walk past the area. The garbage bags are also disorganized and are sometimes left there for days before anybody comes along to collect them,” he said.
Saleewan Buncherd, a 44 year old beach vendor, said she has worked in the area for years and has “never seen the place so busy and dirty.” She said she hauls away her own trash, but laments there is no public toilet.
“Thank God I’m staying at a place nearby and am able to do my personal business there,” she said. “The area smells really bad and many tourists walk past the area with their nose plugged. Can’t city hall do something about this? Maybe they can turn the area back into the beautiful place it used to be.”