developers are said to be "aware of the obstacles that
will need to be overcome to make the project a reality, including
the need to get public approval for a massive marina project in
an area not far from where environmental activists have been actively
protesting against the construction of a pier", however,
they don't seem to be aware of the environmental problems the development
may cause which have prompted the protests against the pier.
Thailand coordinator, Thanu Nabnien expressed concern that a man-made
island could harm the ecology of Phang Nga Bay, which he described
as an important part of Asia’s natural heritage.
would be reminiscent of “The Palm” and “The World”
projects off the coast of Dubai, and was inspired by the recent
visit to Phuket by Bill Gates.
of Phuket has declared that the project seems to be in line with
the province's policy of promoting marine tourism but said that
its potential impact on the environment and local communities would
have to be examined carefully.
Sports Minister Suvit Yodmani has welcomed the idea, outlining that
it could promote a good image for Thailand’s tourism and that
investors from many countries including Saudi Arabia, Russia and
India were interested in investing in such projects in Phuket.
Association chairman Maitree Narukatpichai said he would not object
to the project as long as it did not harm the environment and local
ways of life.
is hard to see how a project such as this would not seriously affect
the environment and local communities in many ways. The island itself
would almost certainly considerably alter wave action in the area,
increasing the strength of the force towards certain regions which
would increase erosion, whilst at the same time decreasing deposition
of particles in other regions. Both of these outcomes would seriously
damage mangroves and mudflats, both of which provided protection
against the effects of the tsunami in 2004.
that local communities would benefit from the development are likely
to be false. Mangroves are vital as fish breeding grounds and any
degradation of these would deprive local communities of part of
their income. Additionally, a large proportion of tourism money
would be diverted towards this new development, reducing income
for small businesses on Phuket island. Only the richest investors
will be able to operate on this new island and the only jobs available
for local people would be McJobs - "an unstimulating, low-paid
job with few prospects, especially a job created by the expansion
of the sevice sector" (Oxford English Dictionary), effectively
increasing the control that rich business people from overseas and
Thailand's elite would have over local people.
sounds like the antithesis of sustainable development as outlined
by Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June