Thai Tourist Paradise Wrecked by Oil Spill
by John Upton for Grist

What could be lovelier than a vacation at Thailand’s Coconut Bay?

Right now, just about anything.

Thousands of gallons of crude gushed from a ruptured pipeline into the Gulf of Thailand over the weekend, blackening shorelines that had recently been bustling with tourists. Some beaches have been closed; others have simply been deserted.

Chemical dispersants have been dumped from airplanes over the slick, which should be helping to break up the oil but also potentially sickening workers, visitors, fish, and other wildlife.

The paradise-like island of Koh Samet, a tourist hub that’s four hours by bus and boat from Bangkok, has been hit hard. An official told reporters that tourism there had been impacted in “an extreme way.” Officials fear that the slick could reach central Thailand.

Pipeline owner PTT Global Chemical Pcl, which is part of state-controlled PTT Pcl, Thailand’s biggest energy firm, has apologized for the spill and says the cleanup could take several more days. That prediction seems as ludicrous as its claim that just 13,000 gallons of oil spilled from the pipe. If the cleanup is stopped after just several days, there will be a lot of oil left behind on sandy shorelines.

Photos: National Geographic

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    seriously, can we wake up yet? the fact that we (collective) voluntarily do this over and over and over and over and...
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    Heart broken about koh samet
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