Expats and environmentalists mourn famous Maya Beach closure

Published:  2 Mar at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Tagged: Thailand, Money
If you’re dreaming of a retirement spent mostly on Thailand’s famous tropical beaches, the one you’ve picked might well be closed before you get there.

Thailand isn’t the only tourist and expat haven to be affected by beach closures and restrictions caused by careless divers, pollution and coral die-offs, but when it’s a beach as famous as Koh Phi-Phi’s Maya Bay, it brings home the reality of what happens when money is being put ahead of a fragile environment.

Maya Bay, of course, found world-wide fame as the location for the Leonardo Di Caprio movie The Beach, released 18 years ago when no-one had heard of its pristine beauty. Following the world-wide success of the movie, tourists and would-be expats flocked to the small island, with the numbers increasing until as many as 5,000 in any one day in the tourist season were being delivered by boat to the site.

Many are divers, others are tourists on day-long boat trips taking in Koh Phi Phi and other nearby islands, and a few are expat residents who care about the destruction of Thailand’s natural beauty. As with a huge number of other coral reefs in the world’s oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef, the corals off Maya beach are now badly damaged.

According to a marine expert attached to a Bangkok university, 77 per cent of the Maya Beach corals are now at serious risk, causing the beach to be closed between June and September this year to allow at least some recovery. Temporary closures help a little, he said, but permanent closures are the only answer. This, he added, isn’t possible, as the island depends on money from mass tourism. A popular island in the Philippines is also being threatened with closure after it was described as a ‘sewer pool’.

Although experts are united on the damage careless divers do to the world’s coral reefs and their delicate environments, it’s not just the divers who are at fault. The engines of the huge numbers of motor boats needed to transport the massive flow of tourists cause pollution, over-fishing damages the delicate environmental balance and plastic and other wastes left behind by visitors contribute to the pollution. Erosion is another danger, with a spokesperson from Thailand’s Marine Department predicting the country is a risk of losing almost all its famous beaches over the next ten years.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive