Pattaya (Agencies): Pattaya, one of Asia’s most popular beaches, is being eroded at a rate of nearly two metres a year, which has raised concern among environmentalists, tourists and local traders.

Thai scientists have stated that both man and forces of nature are the factors behind the situation. They said sea currents and impacts of the city's expanding development have aggravated coastal erosion.

"If we do nothing about it, the beach will disappear in the near future…," said Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a marine and coastal erosion expert at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

The beach area has shrunk to 3.2 acres this year and its width is now is about three to five metres, which was more than 35 metres in 1952.

Pattaya, 150 km east of Bangkok, exploded over the last 15 years. Hotels, golf courses, conference centres, pubs, restaurants and Western fast-food outlets have emerged up everywhere helping to fuel a thriving local economy.

But the shrinking beach is worrying local businessmen. "If we don't fill the embankment with sand, the water will destroy the shore because there is nothing to block it, no sand, no sea wall," a local businessman said.

A rescue plan has been drawn up, but it could be too costly to implement.