More than 20 army trucks were duped into the sea in broad daylight, just of the coast of Phang Nga. A flagrant case of disregard for the natural environment? An outrageous artistic performance? No… a government bid to enhance marine life and tourism.
The vehicles, along with a statue of a sea turtle were placed underwater for the corals to grow on them, in areas destroyed by then devastating 2004 tsunami. “Our plan is to add more statues in the coming years. These will tell the story of the culture of Phang Nga,” said Rak Khaolak Foundation Chief Sompong Daopiset – The Nation reported. He added that the ultimate goal is to turn the project into one of the “best underwater tourist attractions on earth.”
Presiding over the official handover of the vehicles was Fourth Army commander Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich who invited the public to visit and help maintain the project. “The purpose of this project is to build habitats for local marine life and map the area out as a new snorkeling attraction,” he said.
However, some commenters expressed concern for the effects of toxic substances from the trucks’ paint, tires and electrical parts, on marine life.
“All types of trash, including TRUCKS (!), should be disposed of properly. Nothing should be in the sea that did not get there naturally,” said one of them. “I am both shocked and concerned. If this is how Thailand wants to preserve wildlife, I’ve lost hope,” added another.