Thailand orders restoration of bay harmed by filming of ‘The Beach’

Bangkok, Sep 14 (EFE).- More than two decades after the shooting of Leonardo DiCaprio starrer “The Beach,” the Thai Supreme Court has ordered the environmental “rehabilitation” of the Maya Bay so that it recovers its natural state, which had been damaged by the film shoot and years of tourist activity.

On Tuesday, the top court ordered the forest department to present a plan for the rehabilitation of the Maya Bay landscape within 30 days, as the beach had been severely damaged by large-scale tourism and filming of the iconic film, the civil department of the court for environmental cases told EFE on Wednesday.

The decision upheld an earlier Supreme Court verdict from 2018 against Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox – producers of the film – ordering them to pay 10 million baht (around $270,000) for environmental damages caused to the white-sand beach and its pristine waters during the shooting, which took place 23 years ago.

The Royal Forest Department has been tasked with returning Maya Bay to its natural state by appointing a working group, a department spokesperson confirmed to EFE.

The case dates back to 1999, when several administrative entities and environmentalists had filed a lawsuit against the agriculture minister of the time, Pongpol Adireksarn, along with 20th Century Fox and Santa International Film Productions for ruining the coastline and ecosystems of Maya Beach for the shooting of the film, which was released in 2000.

In 2006, the studio and others respondents were ordered by the Thai Supreme Court to pay fines for the damage caused to Maya Bay during the filming of The Beach, with the amount being fixed at 10 million baht in a decision passed in 2018.

However, on Tuesday the court acquitted Adireksarn and other authorities, which had been accused of violating the National Parks Act.

The Maya Bay, situated on the Phi Phi Leh island in the Krabi province, had turned into the most famous beach in Thailand, a global tourist hub known for its natural landscapes which received almost 40 million tourists annually before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, due to the massive influx of tourists and its environmental impact, in 2018, authorities closed Maya Bay to the public to rehabilitate the marine environment and it was reopened in January 2022, some three and a half years later. EFE


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