Thailand is celebrating the opening of a pristine bay made famous by the 1998 movie “The Beach” after the area was closed to the public for years because of waste water pollution.
The Svay Pak Beach, known in the movie for its stark cliff backdrop and its description of a swimming “monumental,” has been closed since 2014 because of lead pollution from illegal mining operations and trash dumped by visitors.
The large garbage dumps were discovered in one of Thailand’s busiest tourist areas. The beach, 140 kilometers (85 miles) east of Bangkok, is a popular bathing spot for foreign visitors, particularly from China.
Thai officials and Japanese representatives are to open the beach Saturday.
“The water is clear, but unfortunately the sun reflects off of the green trash,” said Sompat Jiraetipong, who helped campaign to reopen the bay.
An international team of environmental lawyers included in a document earlier this year to the international Cartier Sustainability Award called Svay Pak an “unmistakable symbol of modern environmental destruction.”
A book about “The Beach” by the movie’s director, Alex Garland, was published in 2014, saying the place was “flowing with it. A few miles down the beach you can see the bones and bones of everything dumped in the lagoon…. Tons and tons of pyrite, yellowish sand, accumulated in this place by tons and tons of tourists.”
Garland is to appear at the opening.
The Cuisinart brand of cookware has made several of its pots and pans out of lacquer made in Thailand, and plans to open a Thai-themed store at the beach.
The Cuisinart company is a subsidiary of the Colgate-Palmolive Co.
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Khot Tepaow, a director for the popular Internet series “Langmeewaw” will be hosting the reopening and feature performances by local talent. There will also be an exhibition of art and flowers from the surrounding area.