Over the past month, the advertisement of PTT  “Better Samed” has been aired on television in Thailand. In the advertisement, tourists and beach vendors are insisting that “Samed is better now. Sand is restored to white. The seawater is clear. Seafood is safe to eat like before. Everything goes back to normal, except the Thai people’s trust is not yet restored. PTT has been unceasingly looking after the affected area and local people.” But the truth is much different from the unrealistic and misleading advertisement. Greenpeace Southeast Asia Thailand, partnered with the community fisheries networks, carried out fieldwork in relation to the impact of the oil spill by diving to identify changes and damage under the Rayong sea within the last 100 days. We found out that the sea has not been healed and its impact has only started to be revealed. The affected local people have not been offered justice as said in the community’s statement. They strongly demand that PTT should have invested its huge amount of money to serve as a more sincere and fair compensation, healing the real damage done to 36km of the Rayong coastline rather than self-serving advertising to regain its reputation. Samed is not the only affected area. The fisherfolk are worried most about the crude oil that still remains under the sea along the 36km to Samed and on underwater sea rock and corals without any attention from PTT. 

 

Our findings of undersea research suggest that the oil spill and the oil dispersant chemical along the 36km of the Rayong coastline have strongly affected the marine environment. Even though the physical characteristics of coral reef are unchanged however their biological characteristics are as they produce lots of mucilaginous material to resist dying which point to the consequences of human interference or disturbance of the ecosystems due to warming sea temperature, lack of sunlight, heavy metals and oil contamination. For the area of artificial corals, fewer marine animals are seen to live where there used to be homes for many marine species. It becomes impossible to see through the water, with turbidity and grey dregs with thick black balls at the bottom of the sea. Fishermen have lost more than 80-90 percent of commercial fish catch which is also a high concern due to the impact on their life.  

True stories and photos of the remaining impact of the oil spill disaster are reflected through the “A Hundred Day after PTT’s Oil Spill” photo exhibition held by 10 FOTOS, a group of top photographers and Greenpeace Thailand, on November 3. The damage is not yet healed and the impact cannot be easily erased by advertising. This fight is absolutely not over until PTT take sincere responsibility for their actions and pay full reparations to affected communities.