The dark water was first noticed by officials on Sunday (Feb 26), “causing tourists to panic and run away from the sea”, said a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department (PR Phuket) today (Feb 28).
The colour of the water led many people in the area to believe that untreated sewage was being dumped into the waterways further upstream, the report noted.
Officers from Karon Municipality arrived to inspect the site at Nong Harn Lake yesterday (Feb 27). Among them was Karon Deputy Mayor Wanlop Nadon, joined by Karon Municipality Public Works Chief Sanan Rakdam and Chatporn Charoenvej, Head of Wastewater Treatment Works at Karon Municipality.
According to the official report, rain in the area usually washed away sediment in the channel coming from local public waterways.
However, the report said the key factor was that the channel had not been dredged for 10 years. “This caused the water flowing into the sea to turn black, similar to wastewater. This made people and tourists understand that it is wastewater,” the report said.
“Originally, the solution was to dredge the channel twice a year, but it was not possible to do so because the contractor had left the job due to bidding at a very low price, and was therefore unable to proceed according to the specified project,” the report continued.
Karon Municipality has now ordered the channel to be dredged as soon as possible so that the dark wastewater would not be impeded into flowing into the sea.
More than 200 local business operators were also called to a meeting and told to strictly ensure their wastewater treatment systems were fully functional according to correct standards.
Many operators had reopened their businesses quickly as the COVID-19 measures were eased, with many of the “systems” not operating at 100%, the report said.
Officers from Karon Municipality will now be conducting inspections of local businesses to ensure compliance, the PR Phuket report said.
“If violations are found, they will order the business to suspend operations until improvements are complete before the business will be allowed to reopen for service again,” the report warned.
“The officers will also create awareness among local people to take part in sustainable environmental conservation practices in accordance with the law,” the report said.
“Karon is one of the famous tourist areas of Phuket, and is popluar with tourists from all over the world travelling here,” Mr Sanan said.
“Most of them are tourists who love perfect nature, and Karon Municipality has given great importance to taking care of the environment by emphasising to business operators and local people to strictly comply with the requirements of environmental laws.
“If an offense is detected by releasing wastewater into public waterways, affecting the image of tourism, the business will be shut down immediately. Many restaurants near the Karon Municipality Office have been ordered to close until the renovations are completed and have passed the inspection. Only then will it be allowed to open for service,” he said.
“Even though the events that occurred this time have come from natural causes, we must admit that it greatly affects the tourism image of the area,” Mr Sanan said.
“Karon Municipality will expedite short-term solutions to the problem and start making long-term plans with the relevant agencies in order to build confidence among the public and tourists as well as enhance the image of Karon being a perfect natural tourism area for tourists from all over the world,” Mr Sanan concluded.
Kurt | 02 March 2023 - 08:20:06