Thailand closes 3 more islands to protect coral reefs

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f98181%2fap_26215782582Crystal clear water off Koh Tachai island, which was closed on May 16.

Image: Alexandra Schuler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Less than two weeks after the Thai government closed its Koh Tachai island indefinitely, the country has announced the closure of another three of its islands in a bid to save its beaches and endangered coral reefs.

On Wednesday, Thai marine officials said that all tourist activities will be banned at Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui and Koh Khai Nai. All three islands are located off the coast of the popular tourist trap, Phuket.

According to Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal resources (DCMR), natural resources around the neighbouring islands are fast diminishing as a result of increased tourism.

During a meeting between DCMR and tour operators and guides on Tuesday, regional chief Watcharin Na Thalang said that coral damage is caused by the coral bleaching process, which occurs naturally and is accelerated by human activity.

Currently, the three islands service up to 60 speedboats a day. Tourists spend up to three hours a day snorkelling and partaking in water sports activities.

Officials have since started to remove tourist facilities and structures from the islands. This will be followed by the vacating of shops and restaurants.

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