Thailand’s Maya Beach made famous by Di Caprio’s blockbuster movie ‘The Beach’ is temporarily closed for tourists due to environmental issues. By Payal Das
The beautiful seacoast of Thailand’s Koh Phi Phi island, Maya Bay has been one of the most visited beaches ever since Leonardo Di Caprio’s movie ‘The Beach’ hit the screens in 1999. But the effect of massive influx of tourists on this beach near Phuket has resulted in a major disaster for the habitat.
The Thai authorities have decided to close the beach for three months for any tourist visit. They have confirmed that the past few years have resulted in over-tourism (about 5,000 tourists per day), pretty much why the beach no more holds the beauty as it used to.
A critical damage has been done to the precious corals of the island. According to the Thai government, about 77% of coral reefs of the country have been devoured due to the sheer number of tourists visiting the islands, beachfront hotels as well as plastic waste dumped in the sea.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine expert, has notified that a three-month shut-down of the beach would only result in half the recovery of Maya Bay. Thus, a fitting solution would be to close the beach on a permanent basis. However, this seems highly unlikely since the country is heavily dependent on tourism as a major income generating industry.
Locals have been trying to help in cleaning the beach, but reports reveal that it might be a bit too late in the day to preserve the beach to its old glory days when the film was actually shot in the 90s. A recent research by a team of marine biologists has found that a large part of the coral reef has disappeared and the sea life has dispersed as well.
On the other hand, Maya Beach is not the only tourist spot, which has been forced to shut down. Three other touristy spots, the idyllic Koh Khai islands: Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui and Koh Khai Nai have been temporarily been kept off limits for the same reason.