Unesco status demanded in Andaman
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa is preparing to nominate three nature reserves in the Andaman Sea for UNESCO recognition.
On Koh Miang in Phangnga province, Mr Varawut led a project on buoy maintenance and underwater debris collection as the island prepares to welcome tourists to the Similan Islands on October 15.
He said the ministry will propose the Andaman Sea Conservation Areas, covering an area of over 1.8 million rai in the three Andaman coastal provinces of Ranong, Phangnga and Phuket, to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The nomination process will be completed by February next year, he added.
“This survey aims to examine the preparations during peak season and diving season in the Andaman Sea. The Andaman Coast is such a unique place that we would like to nominate it for Unesco as it needs long-term protection also by the local people,” Mr Varawut said.
He said he will study the national park’s willingness to welcome a limited number of tourists and manage waste collection. The park must also ensure that dive operators do not allow outboard boats to carry divers.
He said the ministry tasked the 26 national park chiefs with preserving the underwater ecosystems and the safety of tourists. Personnel must pass cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) training and provide accessible water safety equipment.
He also added that Koh Tachai in Similan National Park will be ready to open to tourists once the coastal coral reefs recover. However, staff must limit the number of visitors to avoid dive-related injuries.