11 July 2024

Tourists visiting Ko Lan, a small resort island off Pattaya beach, found to their dismay on Saturday that the sea around the island has turned green and was emitting a foul smell, discouraging many of them from entering the water to escape the scorching sun.

Officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources assured people that the sea is safe and the plankton bloom is not harmful to fish or other marine species.

Apichai Ekvanakun, the deputy director-general of the department, said yesterday (Saturday) that he learned about the presence of the plankton bloom from a “We Love Pattaya” Facebook post, adding that officials have been sent to test samples of sea water, which show that it is in Category 4, which means it is not yet harmful to marine species.

He explained that the sea has turned green due to the blooming of Dinoflagellates group of Noctiluca scintillans plankton, which does not produce toxic substances, adding that the phenomenon normally occurs once a year and lasts only a few days. The plankton will then die off when there is no longer sufficient oxygen in the water.

He attributed the plankton bloom to the draining of nutrient-rich sediments from sewers into the sea by rain, as he urged residents and business operators in Pattaya not to dispose of untreated waste into the drainage system.