6 June 2024

Residents of Thailand’s Libong Island, off the southern province of Trang, are crying foul after the Harbor Department allegedly dumped muddy sediment into the sea, resulting in the death of a large area of seagrass.

The islanders plan to lodge a complaint with the chief of Kantang district, the district municipality and provincial office of the Harbour Department, demanding the suspension of dredging of the Trang River and the dumping of the sediment into the sea.

They claim that the sediment, when whipped up by waves, turns the sea murky and the particles settle on the sea grass, gradually killing it. They say that over 160 hectares of seagrass, accounting for half of the seagrass around the island, has been damaged, depriving dugongs of their main source of food.

Local fishermen have taken an active role in protecting dugong and seagrass and say that they petitioned officials to address the problem of sediment dumping 2-3 months ago, but did not receive a response.

There are about 250 dugongs left in the seas around Thailand and 70 of them live off the coast of Trang province.

Libong islanders, led by an environmental academic, Mr. Chainarong Setthachua, will conduct a survey of the seagrass around Libong Island on Thursday, to determine the full extent of the damage.