Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon said that, traditionally, floating krathongs have been made from banana, pandan and other leaves but that, in recent years, natural ingredients have given way to Styrofoam and plastic. Each holiday, hundreds of the artificial floats end up polluting area beaches and coral reefs, killing sea turtles and other animals that try to eat them.
Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon has been leading the city’s crusade to phase out Styrofoam krathongs.
Pattaya City Hall began several years ago campaigning for the public to avoid foam, using posters and leaflets, as well as media briefings. City officials said the progress has been evident.
“There are still foam krathongs mixed with natural ones, but the number of them has decreased considerably,” said Sunya Thupthimsri from the city’s Sanitation Department, which must clean up after every holiday. “It’s evident people have cooperated well due to Pattaya’s campaigning and advertising.”
Sunya said trash collectors picked up nearly two tons of krathongs from Pattaya Beach last year, with tides taking them south to the beach at the Siam Bayshore Hotel & Spa. Cleanup each year takes about three days.