The water at Patong Beach started changing colour about a week ago, one local resident told The Phuket News. “Been around a week and getting worse,” he said.
Photos and a video of the brown water churning onto the sand was provided, taken from the beach in front of the police box at the end of Bangla Rd.
Local officials have arrived to take test samples of the water, but have yet to announce any findings or report the water-quality phenomenon.
Meanwhile, local environmental group Sustainable Mai Khao has reported finding tar balls washed up onto Nai Yang Beach, where volunteers from the local group joined officers from Sirinath National Park staff in a beach clean-up in honour of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama 9, yesterday (Oct 13).
Michelle explained that the gooey tar balls needed to be picked up with gloves, and advised anyone walking on the beach to keep an eye out for them to avoid stepping on one. Removing any tar balls from the beach of course would be ideal.
Tar balls were last cleaned up from Nai Yang Beach in June, with no clear confirmation of where that ocean spillage came from, despite some local residents blaming the ‘X-Press Pearl’ oil tanker inferno and sinking off Sri Lanka weeks earlier.
Dr Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) in June explained that marine debris washing ashore was usual every year during the southwest monsoon.
“Phuket is likely to have some tar balls coming ashore,” he said.
“Some people link this phenomenon to Sri Lanka. However, we have checked the model for the tides and found that any oil spill [from the ‘X-Press Pearl’] should not affect the west coast of Thailand,” he said at the time.
“The oil in the sea will certainly affect the natural resources, as before this we found a whale coming ashore with oil covering its body,” Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam also noted.
The sperm whale, measuring 4.5 metres long with scratches along its tail and body, was rescued from Bang Tao Beach on June 17.
Dr Kongkiat on June 21 confirmed that the whale fully recovered and had been released.
Michelle noted that Sustainable Mai Khao is holding another beach cleanup in Maikhao Moo 4 tomorrow (Oct 15). The group will meet at the Lad Chom Lay Market near Maikhao Palm Beach Resort at 8.45am. Parking for cars is available. (Click here, or see map below).
Sustainable Mai Khao today was involved in cleanup efforts at Koh Khai Nok with 5 Star Marine and UWCT.