The sea water along the busy central Pattaya beaches is of poor quality and could endanger human and marine life, Regional Environmental Office has said.
Speaking after a meeting with state agencies, Chanutthaphong Sriwiset, the Pattaya City clerk, said the authorities were working together to figure out how to address the problem of sea water quality in Pattaya which he admitted has deteriorated over the past few years.
The meeting was held Monday at Pattaya City Hall and attended by representatives from the Pollution Control Department (PCD), the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning and the Regional Environmental Office 13 in Chon Buri.
According to Thanapong Rattanawutthinun, of the Chon Buri provincial office of Natural Resources and Environment who also attended the meeting, the coastal water quality in the Laem Chabang area, known for its industrial estates, was considered to be "very polluted", while the sea water near central Pattaya beaches was deemed "poor".
Water quality near Na Kleau in North Pattaya, South Pattaya, Lan Island and Jomtien Beach was "fairly good".
About 75% of sea water quality in other eastern provinces including Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat was found to be "fairly good", with 12% rated as "polluted" and the rest "poor".
Coastal water quality tests were conducted by the PCD and Regional Environmental Office 13.
Of the total 85 samples of sea water, 25 came from Chon Buri and the rest from other eastern provinces, which were collected for analysis.
Pattaya's beaches are popular among tourists and expatriates as the resort city is now also home to large concentrations of long-stay holiday-makers from Europe.
The brainstorming session among agencies came up with some plans that aim to reduce pollution in Pattaya City between 2017-2021 in line with the National Environment Board announcement made in 1992 to rid Pattaya of sea water pollution, Mr Chanutthaphong said.
The plans will focus on water treatment management and waste management, Mr Chanutthaphong said, adding that problems with waste disposal and the water treatment system have contributed to water quality deterioration at tourist attractions.
He said the meeting raised the idea of setting up a new waste management plant in Pattaya.
The ideal location for the new plant would be an area in tambon Khaow Maikaew, according to him.
Mr Chanutthaphong said officials have intensified their efforts to educate people about the importance of caring for the environment, which could help address the problem in the longer term.
As for water pollution management plans, he said the city has considered expanding two water management plants to increase their capacities for better treatment of wastewater to be discharged into the ocean and other water to be reused.
Once expanded, the water treatment plant in Soi Wat Nongyai will be able to treat around 130,000 cubic metres of waste water a day, up from 80,000 cubic metres at present, Mr Chanutthaphong said. The waste water comes mostly from the communities and hotels.