Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The festive season is upon us and visitors from around the world continue to pour into Phuket in what is shaping up to be a banner high season for tourism – at least in terms of arrivals.

Use of khom loy (“fire lanterns”) is increasingly common during festivals in Phuket and the night sky above our island was replete with the glowing craft during the recent Loy Krathong festival.

With the monsoon season due to end soon, the skies are clearing and conditions for releasing the fire-driven lanterns are improving. This fact, coupled with the rapid rise in the number of tourists and the profits to be made from entertaining them, seems a sure-fire recipe for a record number of lanterns to be floating above us in the coming months.

The sight of these lanterns slowly rising aloft certainly holds a mysterious, romantic and quintessentially Asian appeal, but too much of anything is rarely good. Excessive, uncontrolled use of the khom loy is now becoming a problem, both in terms of safety and the environment.

What goes up must come down.

While mankind’s successful launching of never-to-return space probes may have rendered that statement technically inaccurate, we have yet to hear of a khom loy achieving the escape velocity needed to carry it into the heavens.

They invariably return to the land, or as is often the case in Phuket, into local waters already overburdened with man-made debris. During the New Year celebrations in Patong, it is common to see them land on and around the scores expensive yachts anchored in the bay.

Because of the potential danger to aviation, Phuket International Airport year declared a 'no-fly zone' for fire lanterns within a radius of several kilometers from the airport. But that restriction seems to have either floated away or fallen into non-enforcement.

During the Red Cross Fair, lanterns were being sent off in windy conditions from an area next to the central stage at Saphan Hin. Many narrowly passed over the heads of hundreds of people eating at tables nearby. Another flew into the branches of a pine tree and set it alight.

Despite the obvious hazards the operator was creating, at no point did any official step in to tell him to give it a break.

The dangers posed by khom loy were a topic at the recent governor's gathering of honorary consuls. It is already against the law to release them without a permit, yet one can buy them openly at some of the island's best known shopping malls, and rogue vendors are ever-present at large public festivals.

The situation could be rectified overnight if existing laws were enforced. Police wouldn’t even have to arrest offenders; consistent on-the-spot seizure of stock would probably be enough to dissuade them from trying it again.

Let’s do this and restrict the khom loy to hotels and other private events organized by people who have respect for the law, public safety and the environment.
– Phuket Gazette

1

Excessive, uncontrolled use of the khom loy is now becoming a problem, both in terms of safety and the environment. You said "environment"? What does it mean? I cannot find this word in my dictionary.

Posted by Richard December 6, 2010 07:57:22AM

Reply

0    0

2

Give it a break! These khom loy are magic and one of the many things loved about Thailand. They are bio-degradable unlike all the plastic bottles and bags strewn all over Thailand. Why don't we take care of that problem first?

Posted by John & Coleen December 6, 2010 08:31:24AM

Reply

0    0

3

A car creates one third of the pollution it creates in its life on the day it is made .. a few lanterns does nothing .

Cars and construction in Phuket are the problem not lanterns. Vagrants setting cars alight and property disputes have caused more fires and as for litter just watch the school kids outside 7-Eleven. Come on get real.

Posted by A Williams December 6, 2010 08:43:07AM

Reply

0    0

4

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by Pensri Srikachorn December 6, 2010 09:20:17AM

Reply

0    0

5

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by Pensri Srikachorn

Me too. They are beautiful, almost captivating, but I do wonder about the fire hazard, particularly the risk to aircraft. We live near Laguna, and the morning after Loy Krathong we had two of them in our front yard. No damage, but it does bring home (no pun intended) the writer's point that what goes up does indeed come down.

Posted by Harold Ackerman December 6, 2010 09:30:15AM

Reply

0    0

6

"The situation could be rectified overnight if existing laws were enforced."
Since when are existing laws are enforced in Phuket unless there is a "crack down"? Let's start enforcing traffic laws before cracking down khom loy.

Posted by Frank Heise December 6, 2010 09:31:55AM

Reply

0    0

7

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer December 6, 2010 10:34:02AM

Reply

0    0

8

Give it a break! These khom loy are magic and one of the many things loved about Thailand. They are bio-degradable unlike all the plastic bottles and bags strewn all over Thailand. Why don't we take care of that problem first?

Posted by John & Coleen

This is incorrect. In fact, the wire frame is most hazardous to sea life – trapping turtles and other marine animals. I've also had one of these come down on top of my stable that is full of hay. Responsible people do set fires and then send them aloft, ESPECIALLY in airport zones. GROW UP THAILAND, please. Some lovely traditions cannot be preserved as they are hazardous.

Posted by Christy S. December 6, 2010 10:37:42AM

Reply

0    0

9

Gazette, you are way off on this one! Why so serious?

Posted by Teacher AJ December 6, 2010 10:49:28AM

Reply

0    0

10

I think greater concern should be placed on the ability to buy fireworks and set them off. On a recent trip (Oct 10), some idiots set some off meters from the beachside entry to Mom TrI's boathouse. Smoke and debris covered the restaurant and burning embers landed exactly where our pram would have been sitting had I not moved it inside before they were set off.

These fireworks can be very dangerous. In many countries (I am Aussie) you have to sit an exam and hold a license to set these off. (I have a license myself, so know the danger.)

Posted by Darren December 6, 2010 12:34:49PM

Reply

0    0

12

It's a nonsense excuse to claim that lesser problems should be ignored because there are more serious ones. The lanterns are beautiful but PG is right; their use has become excessive. Especially in the dry season when forest fire hazard is very real. They should be banned altogether, especially because of the dangers posed to aviation.

Would you like to be the one telling the vendors they should stop and obey the law? I'm glad PG speaks up for me so I don't have to risk serious bodily harm.

Posted by Amazing Thailand December 6, 2010 12:42:42PM

Reply

0    0

14

Does this mean the Thais aren't aware of the dangers?

Posted by Julien December 6, 2010 01:12:03PM

Reply

0    0

15

The paper is recyclable, the coal burns out, some have wood supports, albeit thin. But the wire... I can only hope that it's thin enough to decompose with the salt water. As many go up, so many will come down, making thousands and thousands for an eventual mess. I think they are lovely going up, and for such occasions as marriages they make for a magical and spiritual moment in the night's activities. Let's just remember to perhaps have a fund left over for the clean-up.

Posted by Tom December 6, 2010 01:16:35PM

Reply

0    0

16

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Says who, Observer? Since when does death mean that things will change. Look at the traffic conditions (motorbike riders, trucks, tuk-tuks, the laxity of law enforcement... these things cause much more loss of life than even an airplane crash could bring. There are way more pressing issues than fire lanterns here!

Posted by Rob December 6, 2010 01:31:53PM

Reply

0    0

17

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Love this comment by Observer. "Only death seems to wake up people." Hilarious.

Posted by cxxis December 6, 2010 01:49:28PM

Reply

0    0

18

Anything in excess is bad for you, other persons or the environment.
It is once again disregard for the law and uncontrolled vendors that are the real problem.

Last high season, khom loys were being openly sold on the street by vendors in Karon and set off in the same location. Some floated clear; some snagged on overhead cables; some bounced off buildings. The miracle was that nothing was actually set on fire.

Posted by Logic December 6, 2010 02:15:11PM

Reply

0    0

19

They are beautiful to watch but if you see them in the 100s every night of the year they lose much of their magical touch.

Posted by Ty December 6, 2010 02:23:12PM

Reply

0    0

22

So where will it stop? Will we ban the festival of Loy Kratong as most of these beautiful handmade constructions are held together with metal pins (hundreds of them!) but this is traditional too.

How about we concentrate on having dustbins (trash cans for the Americans) widely available in public places and regular removal of the rubbish? I own a shop and everyone dumps their rubbish in bags (if I am lucky) right next door as it's a supposed collection point.

Posted by Simon December 6, 2010 09:01:30PM

Reply

0    0

23

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Says who, Observer? Since when does death mean that things will change. Look at the traffic conditions (motorbike riders, trucks, tuk-tuks, the laxity of law enforcement... these things cause much more loss of life than even an airplane crash could bring. There are way more pressing issues than fire lanterns here!

Posted by Rob

Do not forget the jet-skis and the death and misery they have caused.

Posted by Concerned December 6, 2010 09:01:54PM

Reply

0    0

24

Excessive, uncontrolled use of the khom loy is now becoming a problem, both in terms of safety and the environment. You said "environment"? What does it mean? I cannot find this word in my dictionary.

Posted by Richard

Maybe you need a new dictionary, try Big C.

Posted by Keefers December 7, 2010 09:09:05AM

Reply

0    0

25

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Love this comment by Observer. "Only death seems to wake up people." Hilarious.

Posted by cxxis

Classic.

Posted by Keefers December 7, 2010 09:14:29AM

Reply

0    0

26

There must always be people bitching about something. Why not bitch about children playing, or church songs being sung too loud? Apparantly a lot of people have nothing better to write about.

Posted by willi December 7, 2010 03:40:11PM

Reply

0    0

27

Aircraft engines can sustain frozen chickens fired from a howitzer in a controlled situation with no damage. Paper, wood and small piece of wire will not cause an aircraft engine to fail.

Posted by bill gates December 8, 2010 09:27:25PM

Reply

0    0

27

Aircraft engines can sustain frozen chickens fired from a howitzer in a controlled situation with no damage. Paper, wood and small piece of wire will not cause an aircraft engine to fail.

Posted by bill gates December 8, 2010 09:27:25PM

Reply

0    0

26

There must always be people bitching about something. Why not bitch about children playing, or church songs being sung too loud? Apparantly a lot of people have nothing better to write about.

Posted by willi December 7, 2010 03:40:11PM

Reply

0    0

25

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Love this comment by Observer. "Only death seems to wake up people." Hilarious.

Posted by cxxis

Classic.

Posted by Keefers December 7, 2010 09:14:29AM

Reply

0    0

24

Excessive, uncontrolled use of the khom loy is now becoming a problem, both in terms of safety and the environment. You said "environment"? What does it mean? I cannot find this word in my dictionary.

Posted by Richard

Maybe you need a new dictionary, try Big C.

Posted by Keefers December 7, 2010 09:09:05AM

Reply

0    0

23

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Says who, Observer? Since when does death mean that things will change. Look at the traffic conditions (motorbike riders, trucks, tuk-tuks, the laxity of law enforcement... these things cause much more loss of life than even an airplane crash could bring. There are way more pressing issues than fire lanterns here!

Posted by Rob

Do not forget the jet-skis and the death and misery they have caused.

Posted by Concerned December 6, 2010 09:01:54PM

Reply

0    0

22

So where will it stop? Will we ban the festival of Loy Kratong as most of these beautiful handmade constructions are held together with metal pins (hundreds of them!) but this is traditional too.

How about we concentrate on having dustbins (trash cans for the Americans) widely available in public places and regular removal of the rubbish? I own a shop and everyone dumps their rubbish in bags (if I am lucky) right next door as it's a supposed collection point.

Posted by Simon December 6, 2010 09:01:30PM

Reply

0    0

19

They are beautiful to watch but if you see them in the 100s every night of the year they lose much of their magical touch.

Posted by Ty December 6, 2010 02:23:12PM

Reply

0    0

18

Anything in excess is bad for you, other persons or the environment.
It is once again disregard for the law and uncontrolled vendors that are the real problem.

Last high season, khom loys were being openly sold on the street by vendors in Karon and set off in the same location. Some floated clear; some snagged on overhead cables; some bounced off buildings. The miracle was that nothing was actually set on fire.

Posted by Logic December 6, 2010 02:15:11PM

Reply

0    0

17

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Love this comment by Observer. "Only death seems to wake up people." Hilarious.

Posted by cxxis December 6, 2010 01:49:28PM

Reply

0    0

16

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer

Says who, Observer? Since when does death mean that things will change. Look at the traffic conditions (motorbike riders, trucks, tuk-tuks, the laxity of law enforcement... these things cause much more loss of life than even an airplane crash could bring. There are way more pressing issues than fire lanterns here!

Posted by Rob December 6, 2010 01:31:53PM

Reply

0    0

15

The paper is recyclable, the coal burns out, some have wood supports, albeit thin. But the wire... I can only hope that it's thin enough to decompose with the salt water. As many go up, so many will come down, making thousands and thousands for an eventual mess. I think they are lovely going up, and for such occasions as marriages they make for a magical and spiritual moment in the night's activities. Let's just remember to perhaps have a fund left over for the clean-up.

Posted by Tom December 6, 2010 01:16:35PM

Reply

0    0

14

Does this mean the Thais aren't aware of the dangers?

Posted by Julien December 6, 2010 01:12:03PM

Reply

0    0

12

It's a nonsense excuse to claim that lesser problems should be ignored because there are more serious ones. The lanterns are beautiful but PG is right; their use has become excessive. Especially in the dry season when forest fire hazard is very real. They should be banned altogether, especially because of the dangers posed to aviation.

Would you like to be the one telling the vendors they should stop and obey the law? I'm glad PG speaks up for me so I don't have to risk serious bodily harm.

Posted by Amazing Thailand December 6, 2010 12:42:42PM

Reply

0    0

10

I think greater concern should be placed on the ability to buy fireworks and set them off. On a recent trip (Oct 10), some idiots set some off meters from the beachside entry to Mom TrI's boathouse. Smoke and debris covered the restaurant and burning embers landed exactly where our pram would have been sitting had I not moved it inside before they were set off.

These fireworks can be very dangerous. In many countries (I am Aussie) you have to sit an exam and hold a license to set these off. (I have a license myself, so know the danger.)

Posted by Darren December 6, 2010 12:34:49PM

Reply

0    0

9

Gazette, you are way off on this one! Why so serious?

Posted by Teacher AJ December 6, 2010 10:49:28AM

Reply

0    0

8

Give it a break! These khom loy are magic and one of the many things loved about Thailand. They are bio-degradable unlike all the plastic bottles and bags strewn all over Thailand. Why don't we take care of that problem first?

Posted by John & Coleen

This is incorrect. In fact, the wire frame is most hazardous to sea life – trapping turtles and other marine animals. I've also had one of these come down on top of my stable that is full of hay. Responsible people do set fires and then send them aloft, ESPECIALLY in airport zones. GROW UP THAILAND, please. Some lovely traditions cannot be preserved as they are hazardous.

Posted by Christy S. December 6, 2010 10:37:42AM

Reply

0    0

7

After the first aviation disaster they will be banned. Only death seems to wake up people... They definitely also pollute as once they come down, they don't disintegrate but keep lying there because of course no one wants to clear the ugly remnants! Pretty up there yes, but are they really necessary? We and tourism existed quite well before they were introduced!

Posted by Observer December 6, 2010 10:34:02AM

Reply

0    0

6

"The situation could be rectified overnight if existing laws were enforced."
Since when are existing laws are enforced in Phuket unless there is a "crack down"? Let's start enforcing traffic laws before cracking down khom loy.

Posted by Frank Heise December 6, 2010 09:31:55AM

Reply

0    0

5

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by Pensri Srikachorn

Me too. They are beautiful, almost captivating, but I do wonder about the fire hazard, particularly the risk to aircraft. We live near Laguna, and the morning after Loy Krathong we had two of them in our front yard. No damage, but it does bring home (no pun intended) the writer's point that what goes up does indeed come down.

Posted by Harold Ackerman December 6, 2010 09:30:15AM

Reply

0    0

4

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by Pensri Srikachorn December 6, 2010 09:20:17AM

Reply

0    0

3

A car creates one third of the pollution it creates in its life on the day it is made .. a few lanterns does nothing .

Cars and construction in Phuket are the problem not lanterns. Vagrants setting cars alight and property disputes have caused more fires and as for litter just watch the school kids outside 7-Eleven. Come on get real.

Posted by A Williams December 6, 2010 08:43:07AM

Reply

0    0

2

Give it a break! These khom loy are magic and one of the many things loved about Thailand. They are bio-degradable unlike all the plastic bottles and bags strewn all over Thailand. Why don't we take care of that problem first?

Posted by John & Coleen December 6, 2010 08:31:24AM

Reply

0    0

1

Excessive, uncontrolled use of the khom loy is now becoming a problem, both in terms of safety and the environment. You said "environment"? What does it mean? I cannot find this word in my dictionary.

Posted by Richard December 6, 2010 07:57:22AM

Reply

0    0

Right push panel.

Close
© 2017 The Phuket Gazette Co Ltd | Desktop Version