Embracing the natural look for Phuket

Posted on January 3, 2014

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This has been quite a significant year for local environmental group SEEK Phuket (‘Society Environment Economy Knowledge’), culminating in the official handing over of a Phuket Sustainability Indicator Report to Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut at SEEK’s second annual meeting last month.

Contained in the document were 26 indicators or areas of focus for further research that SEEK believes needs to be conducted and introduced to help lead Phuket towards becoming a ‘sustainable island.’

These 26 indicators are the result of several workshops with various stakeholders all over the island to decide and plan the future of Phuket. The indicators are divided into four categories – nature, economy, society and well-being. This month, we will look at the nature indicators.

Nature aspect 1: Coastal Management / Sustainable Beach Programme

Goal: For Phuket’s coastal environment to enjoy continuous excellent water quality, with clean beaches that exhibit a natural condition to a large extent.

Sustainability Indicators: To have Marine Water Quality Index (BOD, PH, Fecal Coliform); Beach Quality Index (5 star system).

Nature aspect 2: Coastal Management / Health of Marine Environment

Goal: To have designated coral reefs around Phuket, as well as around the offshore islands, that are fully protected by law and are maintained in a good quality and healthy condition with no net loss.

Sustainability Indicator: To have a healthy Coral Index which can consist of coral/fish diversity, coral coverage, bleaching ratio, water temperature, salinity and coral recruitment.

Nature aspect 3: Protected Area Management

Goal: To have Phuket’s protected terrestrial and marine conservation areas as fully protected by law with zero cases of encroachment.

Sustainability Indicators: To research forest cover change (per cent) and extent of encroachment of national park and other protected conservation areas in relation to government demarcated boundaries. Reporting of prosecuted cases for illegal encroachment and destruction/damage to protected nature areas.

Nature aspect 4: Solid Waste Management / Recycling

Goal: Phuket becomes a Zero Waste Island by 2025.

Sustainability Indicators: Research the total amount of waste generated (metric tons) per capita on the island; total amount of waste recycled (divided into types of recyclables) and total volume of waste/litter collected.

Nature aspect 5: Climate Change / Carbon Emissions

Goal: In the next 10 years, Phuket will reduce its overall carbon emissions to 10 per cent less than its 1990 level (as a baseline).

Sustainability Indicators: Total carbon emission (measuring carbon emission equivalent from electricity consumption, transportation and waste incineration).

Nature aspect 6: Ecosystem Health and Biodiversity

Goal: Phuket is able to maintain a diverse mosaic of healthy ecosystems that ensure the continued flourishing of the island’s rice terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Sustainability Indicators: Living Planet Index (aggregate measure of vertebrate species populations in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals).

SEEK Phuket are expected to finish gathering information on the current status of Phuket’s environment by the end of 2014, contingent upon a year of necessary technical support.

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