Koh Larn sullied by tourist overload as waste mounts
Pattaya City is being encouraged to adopt a series of measures to curb waste and other environmental issues associated with the overwhelming number of tourists visiting the nearby island of Koh Larn on a daily basis.
Among the 13 points on the list of recommendations presented on Monday by a team from Silpakorn University, which was tasked with researching problems facing five of the country's most popular islands, was the idea of imposing an entry fee on tourists, said Asst Prof Panita Wongmahadlek, head of the team.
Koh Larn receives between 9,000 and 10,000 tourists a day, exceeding its maximum capacity of 6,410 visitors, said Asst Prof Panita.
The revenue from collecting fees from tourists as well as business operators on the island could be used to fund the attempts to enhance its capacity to deal with refuse and other waste, she said.
Due to its burgeoning popularity, Koh Larn is now in the process of transferring about 35 tonnes of rubbish to the mainland. It can ferry 25 tonnes over a day. The island lies 11.1 kilometres from Pattaya City.
There are over 50,000 tonnes of accumulated rubbish on the island but no proper measures to deal with it, Asst Prof Panita added.
Other measures proposed by the study team include revamping the island's road network to improve road safety, revising its public transport system, resolving disputes over ownership of several plots of land, making it able to transport over 50,000 tonnes of trash to the mainland a day and increasing the volume of fresh water supplies to keep pace with rising demand.
Eastern Water Resources Development and Management Plc (East Water), a company that runs a water supply business, can produce up to 1.3 million litres a day, said Asst Prof Panita.
But the average demand for water for consumption on the island is higher than this at 1.6 million litres per day on weekdays and 1.8 million litres a day on weekends and holidays, she said.
The island spans more than 3,411 rai and has eight beaches that make up 11% of the island, she said. It has 1,567 hotel and resort rooms and two wharves.
The study team recommended Koh Larn improve the condition of its wharves, public utilities, landscape, public security and safety in water activities, she said.
Such changes should be made in proportion to rising demand from those who live on the island as well as visiting tourists, she added.
The other islands with similar problems that are being studied by the same team are Koh Samet, Koh Kut, Koh Mak and Koh Chang. The presentation was attended by Pattaya's deputy mayor Apichat Wirapal.