Rainy season first real test for artificial reefs

(The Nation Multimedia.com 05-17-2013) Thailand-The rainy season will be the first real test for the artificial reefs placed in shallow waters along the coast of Phetchaburi's Cha-am district as they begin their mission of preventing coastal erosion. The reefs, which are partially made from lignite fly ash, were placed along the coastline on Wednesday. "This artificial reef will have to prove itself," community leader Chairat Tabtong said, adding that though he welcomed the initiative, he still had reservations.

"Let's see how it will fare in the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October," he said.

Under a project initiated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), rows of artificial reef built using lignite fly ash - a by-product from the Mae Moh power plant in Lampang - were placed in shallow seawater along the beach in Cha-am district on Wednesday.

"As per our lab tests, these artificial reefs are well placed to work against coastal erosion," the project's chief researcher Dr Payom Rattanamanee said. Payom is a lecturer at the Prince of Songkla University.

"They can become home to sea creatures and become a shelter for their young," he said.

He added that if this project proves to be a success, similar artificial reefs will be placed along the shoreline in Pattani, Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces. Payom is a lecturer at the Prince of Songkla University.

Egat governor Sutat Patmasiriwat said his agency had decided to award a Bt10.67-million grant to the university for the five-year project, which began in June 2009. "Coastal erosion has caused damage to the economy, tourism, industries, farmland and fisheries," he said.

"I am glad that Egat has stepped in to help solve the problem," Ban Huai Sai Community's chairman Somjai Noisa-ard said.
 
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