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Phuket authorities look to long term beach erosion problems

Saikaew beach
Saikaew beach Flooding in Phuket

The Provincial Offices for Natural Resources and Environment had a meeting this week to discuss a solution to solve the coastal erosion along Mai Khao and Saikaew beaches following recent king tides and flooding.

The beaches, facing west, are at the very north tip of the island. They both feature a long, straight strip of beach and have very steep entrances to the water, making them quite unsafe during the monsoon with shoreline breaks that can be quite high.

The Vice Governor, Amnuay Pinsuwan, chaired a conference with other local sectors that are involved with maintaining beach safety and the environment. He said that after the flooding on July 3 at Maikhao and Saikaew Beaches, there were traffic jams and danger on the beach road route 402, the exit route of Phuket leading to the Sarasin Bridge.

A combination of a king tide, high winds and a driving south-westerly swell, brought waves right across the beaches and onto the roads running along the coast in those areas. There was also coastal flooding in Kamala and Kalima (just north of Patong) on the same day.

The committee decided to look for a long term solution for the erosion. The meeting shows data collected from 2020 that the erosion has already affected 8.26 kilometres along the northern beaches, of which 0.16 kilometres is “severe erosion”, 5.79 kilometres is “middle erosion”, and 2.3 kilometres is “mild erosion”.

He said the process so far is to get information about the erosion from Natural Resources and Environment Phuket in 2020 and let the local administration organisations do the survey for erosion in their areas. The next phase of plan will be decided after all information is gathered.

Rising sea levels are also contributing to the island’s beach erosion. In places like Pattaya, there are millions of baht spent every year to artificially refill and replace the natural beaches which have almost disappeared over the years.

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