CARETAKER MINISTER OF Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa today (Aug. 6) ordered an investigation of the source of oil slicks and tar balls that have washed up on some Phuket beaches while a large team of officials and volunteers have been removing the large amount of the dark oil since Friday (Aug. 4), Matichon newspaper said.
Varawut revealed that not just Phuket has been affected with Koh Tao in Surat Thani too marred by oil slicks.
He has ordered the National Parks and Marine and Coastal Resources departments to quickly find out where the oil came from whether it was from a ship or an industry.
However he added that his ministry does not have the authority to check areas beyond the boundary of Sirinat national park and urged relevant agencies to likewise do so.
Mr. Sorasak Rananan, head of Sirinat national park, said oil slicks and tar balls washed up on beaches under its jurisdiction including Mai Khao beach stretching 5.42 kilometres, Nai Yang approximately 3.66 km, Nai Thon around 1 km and Layan also around 1 km.
Officials of this park together with staff from other agencies including Khao Lampi–Hat Thai Mueang national park in Phang Nga, Marine and Coastal Resources and Harbour departments plus sailors from Third Naval Area Command have been cleaning these beaches since Friday and will continue doing so till the job is done.
Varawut pointed out that even as tourism has begun recovering with large numbers of tourists flocking to Thailand, tour operators, entrepreneurs and ship captains should be mindful of the natural beauty and their responsibility to maintain the environment because when damage occurs they themselves are hit.
Officials and volunteers removing oil slicks and tar balls from Phuket beaches. Photos: Matichon
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