An independent environmental health expert has called for the number of visitors to Koh Lan in Chon Buri to be less than 5,000 per day to tackle the overwhelming garbage problem.
Sonthi Kotchawat, in his Facebook post on Thursday, also said that tour operators should transport their customers garbage back to the mainland.
As well, Sonthi said the island authority should strictly impose a regulation against littering on the beach and a limit should be imposed on the number of restaurants, resorts and accommodations.
"The atmosphere at the island's Ta Waen Beach resembles that of a disaster refugee camp ... Large umbrellas mushroom all over the beach ...," he said.
Koh Lan has about 4.7 square kilometres of space and a population of 4,000. The population doubles, however, when combined with the number of unregistered residents. There are some 1,500 rooms for tourist accommodation, he said.
Normally the number of visitors stands at more than 3,000 people per day - while that leaps to 10,000-15,000 people during a holiday, he said.
"There are 50,000 tonnes of garbage accumulated on the island pending disposal, sending a foul smell ... Each day, 30-50 tonnes of garbage are produced, mostly from shops, restaurants, resorts and home-stays.
“Pattaya City workers bring up to 35 tonnes of garbage per day from Koh Lan back to the mainland for disposal, hence about 20 tonnes is left piling up there," he said.
Even with the planned construction of two garbage incinerators (each with a capacity to dispose 25 tonnes a day), the island will still be overwhelmed by trash that will take more than five years to remove, he said.