Maj Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, Deputy Commander of the Army Region 4 base in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, which is responsible for all of Southern Thailand, inspected Patong Beach yesterday afternoon (Feb 9) with Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup.
“Rental vehicle operators and taxi drivers must park somewhere else. Lots of tourists visit Patong Beach, especially during the (tourism) high season. We need to take of of their needs,” Gen Pornsak said.
“The car park spaces are for the public, not for private business,” he added.
Gen Pornsak suggested setting up parking specifically for taxis and car and motorbike rentals and charging them fees for using them.
“Meanwhile, we have yellow lines and signs marking which areas are for public parking. If anyone breaks the rules, they must be caught – and the Phuket Provincial Office must be held responsible for taking action against those who break the rules,” he said.
Explaining the brown sea water immediately off Patong Beach 50 metres to the south of Bangla Rd, while tourists walked along the sand but not in the water, Ms Chalermluck said, “That is from a plankton bloom as there is too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the sea water.
“We believe the elevated levels of phosphate came from water discharged by washing machines that has found its way into the bay,” Mayor Chalermluck added.
“We will talk with laundry operators and tell them that they must discharge their wastewater into the municipal drains provided.
“We are also thinking about growing hyacinth in Klong Pak Bang to absorb nitrogen. However we need to check first if the water in the area is suitable to grow it or not,” she added.
Klong Pak Bang is Patong’s only public waterway. It starts from the base of the foothills at the north end of the town near Wat Patong and winds its way through Patong to empty into the bay at the southern end of the beach.
However, water hyacinth grows naturally in every canal in the country. It is a weed that grows so quickly that other municipalities throughout Thailand – and as close to Patong as Phuket Town – have to regularly remove it to allow water flow.
For some reason Ms Chalermluck has yet to explain, water hyacinth will not grow in Klong Pak Bang.
Meanwhile, Nattakrit Polapetch, a technical specialist at the Phuket Provincial Natural Resources and Environment Office said, “Plankton blooms do not happen very often and will dissipate after one or two weeks.
“However, plankton blooms may return if the water contains high levels of organic matter, so the best solution to this problem is counter it with a water-treatment facility,” he added.
– Benyada Sungyai