Geologist warns of landslide danger
PHUKET: A Phuket geologist has urged the local Tessaban and OrBorTor to consult the Phuket Natural Resources and Environmental Office (PNRE) before granting permission for hillside land to be developed.
Thursday 22 September 2011, 12:33PM
Professor Amnart Tantitamsopon made his recommendation after announcing that Patong, Kathu and the hill along the bypass road were the most at-risk areas on the island for landslides to occur.
Mr Amnart completed a survey on 30 landslide risk spots around the island. He said land around Phuket had been disturbed for many years, particularly to develop hotels and other developments.
The survey revealed many man-made “check” dams had been built in various areas to collect water, particularly on 50 Pi Road, east of Patong.
Mr Amnart also found many hillside areas had been extensively cut into and developed, or carved out for land sale.
“The decision-making around land carving is made by local authorities in the area, particularly the Tessaban or the OrBorTor. They don’t have the staff who understand, in depth, the geology of the land,” Mr Amnart said.
“The local authorities do not collaborate with relevant administrators such as the PNRE, so permission given to cut up the land might not be based on proper research.
“I don’t agree with construction taking place on hill slopes. However, applying stricter laws will improve the present situation,” he said.
He hoped the authorities would consider reporting to the PNRE before making decisions, as well as letting the organisation examine the land first.
A decision by the authorities about whether to take Mr Amnart’s advice will be made soon.
In July 2008, three people died after a landslide on 50 Pi Road in Patong. An investigation revealed that the hillside close to the disaster had been extensively cut and graded.