Sunbathers fight trash for beach space

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Tourists share a spot in the sun with washed-up garbage on Jomtien Beach in Pattaya, Monday, October 16.
Tourists share a spot in the sun with washed-up garbage on Jomtien Beach in Pattaya, Monday, October 16.

PATTAYA – Reporters were called out to Jomtien Beach on Monday to witness piles of rubbish being washed up along the shoreline adjacent to the entrance to Soi 10. The trash appeared to have been allowed to collect on the beach unattended, or perhaps city hall feared tourists would be so lonely they left the rubbish to keep sunbathers company.

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The floating debris was seen gathering the day prior (Sunday) after a rain storm and reports were made to authorities. The following day another rain storm allowed even more trash to accumulate, causing the beach to look like a dumpsite. It seems tourists didn’t know what else to do on a sunny day but join the rubbish down on the sand.

Santi Tienthong, a local beach operator, said he went along to clean up some of the detritus on Sunday but the next day the amount was massive and it was out of his or his fellow beach vendors’ abilities to deal with it.

Heavy rain and floods have caused the refuse to be washed into the sea but the waves bring it back to shore – further impacting Pattaya’s image as a world class beach destination.

Chatwarin Wongtong, another beach vendor said the incident had them cleaning up all day, with seemingly no end to the accumulation. They were also told by local boat operators that more is expected after they spotted floating garbage offshore. The refuse being washed up is not just plastic bags and bottles, but wooden scraps as well, which could contain nails and hazards that may harm beachgoers.

Beach operators and tourists remain hopeful that city hall will get around to collecting the rubbish soon, even if it means sun-seekers will have to say goodbye to their new-found friend.