26 May '16, 12pm

#Thailand closes dive sites over coral bleaching crisis

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand has shut down 10 popular diving sites in a bid to slow a coral bleaching crisis, an official said on Thursday (May 26), in a rare move to shun tourism profits to protect the environment. The tropical country's southern coastline and string of islands are home to some of the world's most prized white sand beaches and scuba sites, and the booming tourism industry props up Thailand's lagging economy. But warming waters and ever-growing swarms of visitors have damaged coral reefs and local ecosystems. The National Parks department has now indefinitely closed at least 10 diving spots after a survey found bleaching on up to 80 per cent of some reefs. "The coral reefs are affected by unaware tourists - when they go diving they may touch or step on the reef. Closing those spots will help the reefs recover naturally," National Park Officer director Reungsak...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/thailand-closes-...

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