22 oil leaks, 507 tonnes of waste in one year

22 oil leaks, 507 tonnes of waste in one year

Pollution Control Department officials work to clean up the oil spill that washed ashore along a 2-kilometre stretch of Rayong’s Mae Ramphueng beach in January last year. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Pollution Control Department officials work to clean up the oil spill that washed ashore along a 2-kilometre stretch of Rayong’s Mae Ramphueng beach in January last year. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has reported 22 incidents of oil leaks in the Gulf of Thailand and a total of 507 tonnes of rubbish collected from the seas around the country last year, said deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Taisaranakul.

Ms Traisulee said the cabinet has acknowledged the report from the ministry offering an overview of the country's marine environment situation in 24 coastal provinces last year.

Overall, sea water quality was found to be slightly more polluted due to oil spills and garbage dumps from industrial plants. Reports said that 7% of sea water is very clean with 57% rated as clean, 30% moderately clean and 6% polluted.

Ms Traisulee said that there were 22 incidents of oil leaks last year, most of which occurred in Rayong and neighbouring Chon Buri where many industrial plants are located and tourist activities take place.

The ministry also reported that over 507 tonnes of marine garbage and debris were collected from the seas around the country last year. Most were discarded bottles, plastic bags and styrofoam.

Of the 659 sea animals found to have beached last year, 168 had died from ingesting plastic and becoming entangled with drifting rubbish.

The ministry also reported that 823 km of the country's 3,151 km coastline is eroded. Of the eroded coasts, 753 km of coastline has been repaired by constructing barriers and sand fences, said Ms Traisulee. She added the coral reef situation in Thailand improved last year compared to the previous year.

The country has 149,182 rai of coral reef. The ministry said 53% of the reefs are in good condition, 22% in moderately good condition while some of the remaining 25% have been slightly bleached.

Seagrass around the country has expanded by 4% compared to 2021. It was found that of the 103,580 rai of seagrass nationwide, 25% were in good condition, 36% in moderately good condition and the remaining 35% slightly good condition.

Also, the country has 1.73 million rai of mangrove forests which are found to be most densely-grown in the southern provinces along the lower Andaman coast. As for the beach forests, there are 47,149 rai across 18 provinces. Few expanses of such forests remain due to a lack of conservation efforts and heavy tourism. Turning to rare marine animals, Ms Traisulee said 273 dugongs and 2,310 dolphins and whales were found in the country's seas. Sea turtles were reported to have laid eggs in 604 nests.

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