Thai mussel farmers told to stop using old bike tyres

Mussel farmers haul old motorcycle tyres used illegally on their collector lines into their boats before taking them for proper disposal, as local authorities launch a campaign to clean up the coastal environment in Phetchaburi province. (Photo: Chaiwat Satyaem)

Local authorities are requesting Thai mussel farmers to stop using old motorcycle tyres on collector lines along the seashore and remove all those currently in use, for the sake of the environment.

There were an estimated 1 million tyres laid along the seashore in Ban Laem district alone, Sitham Ratchakaeo, chief of Ban Laem district office, said on Monday as the first local mussel farmers began removing the polluting rubber from the sea.

Mr Sitham and provincial fisheries office chief Praphan Lipayakhun launched the clean-up campaign in the district, encouraging mussel farmers in tambon Ban Laem to abide by the existing ban.

Farmers are being asked to deliver the collected old tyres to H. Phonnimitcharoen wharf in tambon Ban Laem, from where most of the tyres will be sent to an approved rubbish incinerator in Cha-am district.

However, some of the tyres will be buried at the site of a new sports ground at tambon Bang Kaeo in Ban Laem district, said Mr Praphan said.

The used tyre collection campaign will run in the district until July 20.

On Monday, about 100,000 tyres were collected from mussel farms and delivered to the wharf, said Mr Praphan.

Mr Sitham said farmers had turned to use old motorcycle tyres on lines set to collect mussel larvae, or spat, at their seashore farms despite the practice being disallowed due to its harmful impact on the environment.

But instead of threatening legal action, local authorities launched a campaign encouraging them to cooperate and remove the tyres from the sea, he said.

If the campaign is successful, the seas will be cleaner and the law will be complied with at the same time, he said.

The move is part of a wider provincial effort to rehabilitate the Gulf of Thailand coastline, he said. – Bangkok Post

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