Mr Sittipol visited Patong Beach yesterday (Mar 28) to inspect the phenomenon, and to “verify the facts”, said an official report of his inspection.
Patches of dark water at Patong have raised concerns among many people, worried it is the result of “human actions”, the report said.
It also comes while large patches of dark water are affecting other main beaches popular with tourists, Plub Pla Bay on Racha Yai Island south of Phuket and at Kamala Beach, the official report noted.
The dark water at Plub Pla Bay on Koh Racha Yaihas already been attributed to “whale excrement or plankton bloom”, while the dark water at Kamala Beach has already been confirmed to originate from wastewater in the canal that streams across the beach.
With the dark water being confirmed as a natural phenomenon, officials were confident that it would not affect tourism, the report said.
Of note, not mentioned in the report was “seaweed” washing ashore at the southern end of the Patong Beach, where large patches of dark water now meet the shore.
Also of note, so far Patong Municipality has not publicly recognised the issue.
The dark water at Patong is present just north of where the Pak Bang Canal empties into Patong Bay. Aerial photos posted online by environmental group “Monsoon Garbage” show the water in the canal to be black, and affecting the water in the area immediately surrounding where the canal empties into the bay.
Regardless, the official report of Mr Sittipol’s inspection yesterday said, “This is a natural phenomenon that turns the seawater to brown, red, green or muddy black, caused by the multiplication of single-celled algae in the sea, causing to see the sea in a different color than before.”
“This phenomenon will occur in the summer and as a result of the combination of the rise and fall of the tides, and the wind. It will happen for a short time only,” Mr Suttiphol said, according to the report.
“In addition, villagers in the area of Patong Beach and local boat rental operators confirm that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs every year. Most tourists know that it’s natural, and is only present at the end of the beach,” he said.
Plankton blooms are a natural phenomenon that happen every year. They can be harmful to fish and other marine life,” he said, like all other reports of the “plankton blooms” in Phuket, not marking any health effects the water might have on tourists visiting the beach.
“Marine biologists from the Marine Resources Research Center at Cape Panwa will take samples of the water to determine the exact cause of the phenomenon and to reduce concerns among the public so they understand that this is a natural phenomenon. It does not affect the tourism sector in any way,” Mr Suttiphol said.
JohnC | 31 March 2023 - 08:54:49