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Whale poop clogging up Phuket klongs, and other silly excuses

Dirty water flowing into Patong Bay
PHOTO: Dirty water flowing into Patong Bay - Monsoon Garbage

We’ve heard all sort of excuses for human made pollution in Thailand over the years. Even the air pollution in Bangkok has been blamed on the lighting of joss sticks in Chinese temples. Yes, an official actually said that. Now, in trying to explain away the seeping of waste water out of the town’s canals on to Patong’s beach, an official has taken creative license to a new level.

Sittipol Muangsong, Chief of the Phuket Fisheries Office, has blamed the dirty water at Patong Beach as a “natural phenomenon”. He’s attributed the water’s discolouration at Phuket beaches to either “whale excrement or plankton bloom”. He visited the tourist beach on Tuesday (presumably to check if there were any whales ‘backing up’ and aiming their rear end at any local Patong klongs, or canals).

But local environmental group Monsoon Garbage have sent up their drone and taken photos showing exactly where the dirty water is coming from, and where it’s ending up.

When there are lots of tourists in Patong there are reports of these filthy ‘black waters’ making their way into Patong Bay from the local klongs, often ending up washing back into the beach where hundreds of people are swimming.

The report states that the phenomenon will not affect tourism. Furthermore, the dark water at Plub Pla Bay on Koh Racha Yai has already been attributed to “whale excrement or plankton bloom”. Perennial dark water at Kamala Beach has been again confirmed to originate from wastewater in the canal that streams across the beach, according to a report in The Phuket News.

The aerial photos posted by Monsoon Garbage¬†indicate that the water in the canal is already ‘black’, and where the klong empties into the bay. But Mr. Sittipol’s inspection concluded that the discolouration is a :natural phenomenon” caused by the multiplication of single-celled algae in the sea.

PHOTO: Monsoon Garbage

He told the media that the algae turns the seawater brown, red, green, or muddy black, causing the sea to appear differently than before. He went on to state that this phenomenon occurs in the summer and is caused by the combination of the rise and fall of tides, and the wind.

He also added that marine biologists from the Marine Resources Research Centre at Cape Panwa will take samples of the water to determine the exact cause of the phenomenon.

He hopes that this will reduce public concern and help them understand that this is a natural occurrence that does not affect the quality of the beaches or the tourism sector in any way.

Although seaweed washing ashore at the southern end of the Patong Beach was not mentioned in the report, Mr. Sittipol noted that locals who live in the area and boat rental operators confirm that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs every year, and most tourists know it’s natural and is only present at that end of the beach.

PHOTO: Monsoon Garbage

SOURCE: The Phuket News | Monsoon Garbage Facebook Page

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