Thailand plans to impose a smoking ban on 20 of its popular tourist beaches across the country, including those in Phuket and Krabi, the Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday (Oct 10).
From next month, those who are caught smoking at these beaches will face up to a year in prison or a fine of 100,000 baht (US$3,000).
The move comes after the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources checked nine square metres of Patong Beach in Phuket and found an average of 0.76 butts per square metre, the report said.
This translates into 101,058 cigarette butts on the 2.5km beach.
The discarded butts made up a third of the rubbish that was collected.
According to the department's director-general Jatuporn Buruspat, more than 100 million cigarette butts were found on the streets of some of Thailand's busiest streets and this caused unnecessary flooding when the waste clogged up drains.
"No more lighting up while strolling along the beach because that is most likely to end up with a huge number of cigarette butts being dropped on the beaches," the Bangkok Post cited Buruspat as saying.
The beaches that will come under November's ban include hotspots like Koh Samui, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Patong.
Buruspat added that the smoking ban will be extended to all beaches in Thailand in the future.