Big stink seals fate of Koh Tao eyesore

Big stink seals fate of Koh Tao eyesore

The resort island of Koh Tao, known as a paradise for divers, is being threatened by a mountain of garbage and the resulting stench. The island is believed to have accumulated 45,000 tonnes of garbage that it has yet to deal with. Supapong Chaolan
The resort island of Koh Tao, known as a paradise for divers, is being threatened by a mountain of garbage and the resulting stench. The island is believed to have accumulated 45,000 tonnes of garbage that it has yet to deal with. Supapong Chaolan

A 45,000-tonne mountain of garbage that is polluting Surat Thani's Koh Tao island will be removed, Surat Thani governor Witchawut Chinto says.

Speaking after inspecting the dump site with local officials, he said a contractor has been assigned to dispose of the mounting garbage which is tainting the island's public image.

Mr Witchawut said the garbage piled up after Koh Tao municipality decided against renewing the contract with the company previously hired to dispose of it.

The company failed to fulfil the obligations in the contract, Mr Witchawut said, adding that the only garbage incinerator on the island has been left idle.

A new company has been hired and is expected to begin garbage disposal operations soon, the governor said.

"We'll certainly clear it up and make Koh Tao a perfect, pollution-free tourist attraction," said Mr Witchawut during his visit.

He was accompanied by Chai­yan Thurasakul, mayor of tambon Koh Tao municipality, and deputy chief of Surat Thani police Pol Col Chaowalit Liangsupong.

He added local officials and residents have also taken measures to alleviate the putrid stench.

The spreading eyesore of foul-smelling garbage has authorities worried it could seriously damage the island's reputation as a divers' paradise.

It is believed that about 30 tonnes of garbage are produced each day.

Mr Witchawut said local authorities on the island have been urged to introduce better waste management over the long term including garbage sorting and recycling for sustainable management.

Koh Tao is one of the tourist magnets of southern Thailand, drawing about 3 million visitors a year and revenue of about 10 billion baht annually.

The 21-square-kilometre island in the Gulf of Thailand is not far from Koh Phangan, an island which has earned notoriety for its full moon parties.

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