Thailand Shuts Down Koh Pling Island Due To Extensive Coral Bleaching; Hopes To Aid Coral Reef Recovery

The extensive coral bleaching has been caused by rising ocean temperatures that have turned colourful coral reefs into shades of white.

by Tashika Tyagi
Thailand Shuts Down Koh Pling Island Due To Extensive Coral Bleaching; Hopes To Aid Coral Reef Recovery

Thailand has decided to shut down its popular Koh Pling (Pling Island) temporarily. The move comes after the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) found extensive coral bleaching around Sirinat National Park and Koh Pling. The island has been closed since May 9 and the authorities hope that the natural environment with enough time will aid coral reef recovery. This has also prompted the authorities to monitor other national parks for signs of coral deterioration.

Thailand Temporarily Closes Koh Pling Due To Coral Bleaching

Koh Pling coral bleaching
Image Courtesy: Canva (representative image)

Koh Pling is a tourist-friendly islet near Phuket that is famous for its beautiful beaches and water sports. However, Thailand has decided to temporarily shut down Koh Pling and part of Sirinat National Park for visitors due to mass coral bleaching in the area. Despite being the peak tourist season, the authorities were forced to take this decision as the once colourful coral reefs have turned into shades of white due to the extensive bleaching.

Coral bleaching happens when stressed corals expel the algae living within them. This is triggered when the ocean temperatures rise above normal levels and increase ultraviolet radiation. They can recover over time when the ocean temperature goes back to normal, but this recuperation takes time.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP) declared the temporary closure of these areas due to extensive coral bleaching and scorching heat waves in Thailand.

Also Read: Guwahati Temperatures Likely To Reach 39°C On May 25; IMD Issues Special Bulletin Warning

How Will Closing Down The Island Help The Reefs?

Koh Pling coral bleaching
Image Courtesy: Canva (representative image)

A healthy coral reef provides food and shelter for countless fish species. They even act as natural breakwaters and protect coastlines from erosion. Limiting human access and activities around the island and the reefs can boost coral health. It will allow the ocean temperatures to go down, allow the ocean to go back to its normal conditions, and in turn help the coral reefs.

As per the United Nations climate report on Asia 2023, the continent is heating up faster than the global average. The climate crisis increased casualties and economic losses from floods, storms, and more severe heatwaves around this region.

This isn’t the first time Thailand has shut down an island or part of a national park. Back in 2018, the authorities shut down Maya Bay for more than four months to let the coral and marine life in the region recover naturally.

This is yet another example of how climate change is affecting nature and its beauty. We hope that the coral reefs in Koh Pling recover and turn colourful and healthy soon!

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva (representative image)

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