The bill has come due for Pattaya City Hall, which sat back for decades and watched Koh Larn explode into the area’s biggest tourist draw without investing in adequate waste management, sewage treatment or water supplies.
Mayor Anan Charoenchasri and top deputies and department heads toured the resort island Jan. 10 to investigate the chorus of complaints about Koh Larn’s crumbling infrastructure as well as reports of rampant public-land encroachment.
What officials found was an island drowning in garbage yet dying of thirst. Supplier East Water Co. delivers 300 cu. meters of filtered sea water to the island a day, but that’s not enough to meet the demands of Koh Larn’s approximately 2,900 residents and 10,000-20,000 daily tourists.
The island also is struggling to dispose of the water it does receive. There are two small sewage-treatment plants on the island at Samae and Tawan beaches, but Koh Larn produces more sludge than they can process.
Then, of course, is the long-running crisis with solid waste, which has resulted in Koh Larn sitting on 50,000 tons of stinking, rotting garbage it cannot dispose of.
The Pattaya City Council recently approved a budget to purchase new barges to haul the waste to the mainland, but when that will happen is anyone’s guess.
Despite all the infrastructure issues, Pattaya’s leaders appeared more interested in carrying on the junta’s crusade against property encroachment.
Anan said there are hundreds of illegal buildings and structures invading or built entirely on public land. Authorities are now checking land and title deeds.
He said 110 property owners claim to have legal documents, but many others don’t. All will be checked as the government reigns in perennially unmitigated development of Koh Larn.