Pattaya Daily News

07 March 2011 :: 11:03:39 am 51104

Pattaya Beach in Crisis

Erosion of the sandy beach at the centre of the resort city of Pattaya has been moving at a fast, severe pace, and some parts of the beach are virtually nonexistent. An academic who has been following the situation there warns it could totally disappear in five years if nothing is done to restore the disappearing waterfront.
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Coming to rescue the vanishing beach, the Pattaya City municipal administration and related parties are seeking measures for restoring the beaches by a sand-refilling process.

Beach chair rental businesses along Pattaya Beach have become bearish due to the small number of tourists owing to the ongoing sand and beach erosion. The erosion can be seen along the beach, causing Pattaya’s beachfront to shrink to only three metres in width. In an attempt to slow and reduce the impact of waves on the beach, beach-front business owners have built their own seawalls by placing sandbags in parallel to the beach.

 

Pui Pitsawongprakan, 79, flashes back vividly to a time when she was young and Pattaya beach was very large. The distance between the beach and the sea was very far, and the young girl had to go a long way to go swimming in the sea.

Having run a chair rental business here for some 40 years, Pui recalled  the beach previously was wide enough to place four rows of deckchairs. Currently, narrow space leaves room for only one row of chairs as the strong waves and tides hard hit and have significantly eroded the beach during the past two years.

The disappearance of the beautiful and attractive beach also affects tourism-related businesses along the beach, she says. Her income fell from Bt2,000-3,000 per day to only Bt400-500 due to the drop in the number of tourists, Pui complained.

Meanwhile, Pattaya Beach is not only workplace for Ms Pui but also a part of her home filled with memories and with profound bonds. She feels sad about losing one of Thailand’s beautiful sandy beaches.

 

“In the past, a large number of foreign tourists visited and spent their time here, but now they just come to see, then move on to other places as there is no large and beautiful beach for them to enjoy,” Pui bemoaned.

While locals attempt to save the beach, using sandbags as wave breakers, the authorities and researchers are working to replenish Pattaya beach using other methods.

The Pattaya City Hall on Friday invited local residents and entrepreneurs to listen to a hope for solution to the beach erosion. The project to reconstruct Pattaya’s sandy waterfront is a cooperation between the Marine Department and Chulalongkorn University. The study has been carried out to lay out a master plan and a survey has been conducted to design sand reinforcement.

At the meeting, science faculty disaster studies head Thanawat Jarupongsakul said that part of the beach has disappeared due to changes of land use such as land reclamation to build hotels and docks, causing different pattern of sediment shifting from those in the past.

Aerial photographs showed that Pattaya Beach used to be as wide as 30 metres and that beach erosion has caused the sand beach to vanish at around 1.8 metres per year. According to the researchers, it could totally disappear in five years if nothing is done to restore the beach.

 

A planned solution is to suck sand deposits about 5-10 kilometres from shore near Laan Island off Pattaya to refill the 4.5 kilometre long Pattaya beach, making it expand to 30 metres wide, its original width.

Mr Thanawat said this method is an academic approach to restore nature, but the process must be repeated every 15 years.

Beach erosion occurred not only in Pattaya, Thailand’s eastern tourist seaside resort, but also happened along the Gulf of Thailand. In Rayong and Phetchburi, rock was laid near shore vertically to save the beach from erosion and this is solving the problem in the terms of structure. However, the rock became eyesore to beautiful scenery. Sand reinforcement is a different solution regardless structure and it has been done in many countries.

The team of researchers proposed to Pattaya city community to consider the method to tackle the problem as the beach is the Pattaya’s highlight, which draws about five million tourists a year. Without the beach, Pattaya will become only a name of a legendary tourist destination in the past.

Credit by: MCOT online news

Photo : PDN staff   Category : Society

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