Famous beach closed indefinitely due to tourist neglect

James Dralle, Editor-in-Chief

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On Oct. 3, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions was closed indefinitely. Maya Bay, a widely visited beach. The beach is temporarily shut down due to severe and extensive environmental damage. In early June, it was announced by Thai authorities that the beach would be closed for a temporary four-month period but has now been extended to a minimum of a year.

Maya Bay became a popular tourist attraction after the release of Danny Boyle’s The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

It was estimated that Maya Bay received over 2,000 tourists a day, including 200 boats to take people to the bay, according to The Guardian. Many people who visit Maya Bay are tourists from Phuket, which is only an hour boat ride away. With the park having an estimated 2.5 million visitors for this year, Maya Beach would have even more damage to their coral reefs.

More than 80 percent of the coral in Maya Bay has been depleted due to it being a popular tourist area in Thailand. With the park receiving more visitors each day, the damage continued to get worse. The ecological community was deemed impossible to “rehabilitate” Maya Bay’s ecosystem, due to the extensive coral damage and the plants that cover the bay.

Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand, Maya Bay generated over 400 million baht, which converts to just over $12 million in USD currency. Thai authorities were reluctant to close the Maya Bay, according to The Guardian, due to its generation of money.

Having 52.6 percent of Thailand’s population living in urban areas, the majority of the damage contributed to Thailand’s ecosystem according to World O Meters. But, Thailand is quickly emerging as a model of green building according to UN Environment.

Isabelle Louis, Deputy Director of UN Environment Asia and the Pacific Office, said in a UN Environment article that Thailand’s government, leading the way, aims to truly transform the building market and see green growth for years to come,” then adding “This project facilitates regional action for our collective future—heralding an era of Asian leadership on global climate commitments”.

This wasn’t the only beach that was closed temporarily due to environmental damage. Boracay beach, located on an island in the Philippines recently opened after being closed for a short amount of time. On April 26, the Philippines government revealed that there was once “famous beach with blue waters” had been turned into a “cesspool”.

Senior Alyssa Ortiz said that people’s neglect to the environment has a significant impact.

“As we grow as society humans keep buying things and making things that aren’t good for the environment,” Ortiz said. “For example, plastic and other trash in the ocean, it didn’t just appear there, humans put it there because they don’t care”.

The beach was closed for four months and has recently started opening in sequences throughout the month of October. The popular Boracay beach is home to 17,000 people, many of which are dedicated to the tourist industry, according to CNN Travel.

BREAKING- Reef sharks have been noticed swimming throughout Maya Bay six months after the beach shut down.  According to Bangkok Post, new coral is being planted on the reefs after suffering damage from a heavy tourist concentration.



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