Topic: Krabi wins 2 out of the 6 top spots in "5 star beach" ratings

The latest Pollution Control Department survey of 233 Thai beaches in 18 provinces has awarded only six sandy strips in the whole kingdom with "5 star" status, which means that they measure up to strict guidelines on environmental protection; pollution management; conservation of natural resources; and tourism management.

The top beaches were listed as Ao Bi Leh in Koh Phi Phi Leh; Koh Rok off the coast of Koh Lanta (both in Krabi Province), Koh Samsao and Ao Kha beaches (in Surat Thani NOT in Krabi, as published in The Bangkok Post), as well as Lidi beach in Satun, and Tai Muang beach in Phang Nga.

It is worth noting, however, that both the Krabi beaches listed are located within National Park grounds with no human settlement nearby. In contrast, Ao Nang beach, one of Krabi's busiest and most developed tourist destinations, was recently highlighted in a Tourism Authority of Thailand survey which claimed that 30% of visitors said they would not return due to the water pollution, dirt and tuk-tuk drivers on the sea front.

The PCD's findings overall this year show that this is reflective of what is happening all over Thailand, with increasing amounts of litter, pollution from diesel engines and waste water discharges deteriorating the quality of beaches nationwide - particularly in Phuket. Many beaches there have been downgraded from their previous ratings. The PCD has expressed concern about this downward trend and plans to launch a campaign to teach coastal communities the importance of protecting their beaches.

Sadly, this may be a case of too little, too late.