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10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future

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10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | The Thaiger
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“Green” is not usually the word that comes to mind when speaking of Thailand, especially when you are speaking through a PM2.5 face mask. But with recent attempts to improve the environment and tackle waste, here are some positive changes to shift your attention from air pollution and help you feel good about the decision to live, invest, or retire in the Land of Smiles.

1. 7-Eleven and Big C don’t hand out plastic bags any more

You may have been frustrated at how 7-Eleven handed out plastic bags for something like an ice-cream (which was already in a plastic wrapper), only to be thrown away into the bin just outside the store. But since January 2020, major retailers, supermarkets, and convenience stores (including Central malls, Makro, Big C, and 7-Eleven) have stopped providing free single-use plastic bags to customers.

The ban doesn’t only reduce a huge amount of plastic waste, but it went viral after locals, expats, and tourists amused the Internet community with extremely creative alternatives. The initiative is also setting an example for smaller retailers and vendors to follow suit in the future as pressure builds on social media for all Thais to take on responsibility for fewer plastic bags in the Thai eco-system in the future.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

2. Phuket closes a famous island to restore marine ecology

Tourism is one of the main economic drivers for the Thai economy (around 13-15% of the Thai GDP), but unsustainability is a big issue, too. However, hopes are not lost as the country has started closing fragile destinations from tourists until nature recovers.

Maya Bay, which appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster ​The Beach, has been closed to the public for coral restoration since 2018. Soon, following the closure, over a hundred reef sharks returned. When it reopens in 2021 (only a tentative plan at this stage), officers will limit the number of visitors, and boats will have to access the island without throwing their anchors onto the reefs.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

3. Pattaya hosts an annual carbon-neutral lifestyle event

Festivals can be fun, inspiring, and also environmentally-friendly. Wonderfruit, held annually in Pattaya, is one of the biggest lifestyle and music events in Asia that attracts expats and tourists from around the world. Many call it the “Burning Man of Asia” because, apart from the music, workshops, and diverse crowd, it also focuses heavily on sustainability; single-use cups are not allowed, and every construction is made from eco-friendly, recycled, or locally-sourced materials. Its iconic stage can be taken down and reassembled to create new shapes to reduce waste.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

4. A Bangkok park helps fight floods

It’s a well-known fact among locals and expats that heavy rainfall can trigger floods in Bangkok’s streets. But an award-winning park in downtown Bangkok does an amazing job of alleviating floods while providing much-needed green spaces and providing an elevated view of the flat city.

Created to celebrate the centenary of Chulalongkorn University, Chulalongkorn Centenary Park uses large green roofs to collect and channel rainwater to the storage tanks underground for later watering use. During severe floods, the system can store up to 5 million litres of water. Couple this with Bangkok’s attempt to increase and improve access to green spaces, and you can feel a positive trend is happening.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

5. Starbucks and major Thai coffee shops no longer provide plastic straws

Starbucks plans to replace plastic straws with strawless lids or alternative-material ones in all of its 30,000 shops across the globe during 2020. Starbucks Coffee in Thailand began providing eco-friendly paper straws for customers on Jan 6, 2020. Similarly, Thai coffee giant Café Amazon provides biodegradable straws and compostable cups for all hot drinks. Meanwhile, Inthanin Coffee is served in cups made from 100% plant biomass. Their cups are also designed without straws.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

6. Thailand will ban plastic straws, cups, and styrofoam containers by 2022

Local street food and non-biodegradable consumables often come hand-in-hand. But that will change as these lightweight plastic bags, styrofoam food containers, single-use plastic cups and straws will be banned by 2022. The country has successfully banned microbead plastics in cosmetics, oxo-degradable plastics, and bottle cap seals, and has laid out a roadmap to recycle all plastic by 2027.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

7. Artificial reefs near Koh Samui offer an exotic and eco-friendly experience

Pristine beaches, aquamarine water, and colorful marine life attract many to Thailand. Luckily, many also take part in protecting this ecology. The party island of Koh Pha Gnan near Koh Samui, for instance, has a new diving landmark that looks like small oil rigs. They are the prototypes to prove the viability of the plan to reuse old oil rigs in Thailand.

The artificial reefs near Koh Samui can help lower the impact on authentic reefs and offer a new experience for divers as well as prevent destructive fishing when fishermen drag a large net across the seafloor. The artificial reefs were placed underwater in ​Ao Chaloklum Bay​ and attract young corals and many species of fish.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

8. The government is going paperless

The amount of paperwork required when contacting state agencies can be bewildering and is certainly unsustainable. However, this is changing. State agencies in Thailand have pledged to digitise their documents and will no longer require stacks of paper documents.

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), for example, now offers work permits and long-term visas in digital formats and an online visa and work permit application platform for BOI companies – there’s no printed version. This doesn’t only cut down on numerous paper forms, but also makes it much more convenient for expats who now have digital work permits and visas with them all the time on their phones.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

9. “Kayaking For Chao Phraya” fights river dumping

There are many trash collection heroes and beach cleanup groups in Thailand. But “Kayaking for Chao Phraya” is one of the biggest events when it comes to river cleaning and anti-river dumping campaigns in Thailand. Led by a prominent professor at Thammasat University​, ​Thai and foreign volunteers kayak and collect rubbish they find along the Chao Phraya river. The journey is about 400 kilometres long and takes about 10 days to complete. The trash they collect is weighed, sorted, and recycled.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

10. Thailand has amended a law to help increase forest cover

Illegal logging can threaten forests that are home to exotic wildlife, unique to Thailand. To ease illegal logging, the country has amended the Forest Act to allow planting and felling of precious trees, such as teak, on private land and provides free sprouts to farmers. This initiative is part of the goal to increase forest cover from 31.6% to the target 55% by 2037.

10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | News by The Thaiger

With these positive initiatives from locals, expats, private companies, and the government to be more sustainable, Thailand will remain an ideal place to live and retire, in the future.

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1 Comment

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    January 19, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Too bad Thailand is too hot to live. 125 degrees F is the feel like temperature 10 months out of the year.

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Major international retailers banning monkey-picked coconuts – VIDEO

Jack Burton



Major international retailers banning monkey-picked coconuts – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: The Culture Trip

Allegations of animal abuse are prompting major Western retailers to pull Thai coconut products from their shelves, amid accusations that the coconuts are picked by monkeys treated inhumanely. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim monkeys are snatched from the wild and trained to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day. The animal rights group says pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”.

PETA claims monkeys are used by farms supplying 2 of Thailand’s best known coconut milk brands: Aroy-D and Chaokoh, which are exported to many countries, including Europe and the US.

“Following PETA Asia’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

The BBC reports that in the UK, major retailers Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots are pledging to stop selling some coconut products from Thailand.

“Our own-brand coconut milk and coconut water does not use monkey labour in its production and we don’t sell any of the branded products identified by Peta. We don’t tolerate these practices and would remove any product from sale that is known to have used monkey labour during its production.”

The Morrisons chain said it has already removed products made with monkey-picked coconuts from its shelves. Sainsbury’s, the UK’s second largest grocery chain, told the BBC…

“We are actively reviewing our ranges and investigating this complex issue with our suppliers.”

A PETA statement says it has found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys are forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys are reportedly able to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day; it’s thought that a human can pick about 80.

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human treeclimbers, rope or platform systems, ladders, or they simply plant dwarf coconut trees.”

The group says it’s also discovered “monkey schools,” where the animals are trained to pick fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball to entertain tourists.

“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress. Monkeys were chained to old tyres or confined to cages that were barely large enough for them to turn around in.”

“One monkey in a cage on a lorry (truck) bed was seen frantically shaking the cage bars in a futile attempt to escape, and a screaming monkey on a rope desperately tried to run away from a handler.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Opposition questions ministry’s plan to buy firefighting helicopters

Jack Burton



Opposition questions ministry’s plan to buy firefighting helicopters | The Thaiger

Thailand’s interior minister yesterday defended his plan to purchase 6 firefighting helicopters, saying the ministry doesn’t have any such helicopters and relies on military choppers to fight wildfires, “which aren’t up to the task”. Anupong Paojinda was responding to an objection raised by the opposition during yesterday’s House debate on the budget bill for the financial year 2021.

“I’m sure those MPs in northern provinces know that the best the military helicopters borrowed for fighting wildfires ever did was carry water to pour on the fires, without sufficient accuracy in target identification.”

Wildfires are common in Thailand’s North, especially during the annual “burning season,” usually February through April, when farmers burn their crop fields in preparation for the next growing season. The minister said up to 6 wildfire-fighting helicopters are needed because they would be used in rotation to allow regular maintenance.

The Pheu Thai Party MP for Chiang Rai said the ministry’s plan to purchase 2 helicopters for fighting wildfires this year, at a cost of 1.8 billion baht, isn’t worth it, as the country already has more than 300 helicopters. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation plans to buy the 6 helicopters by 2022, an outlay he said is unnecessary and should be scrapped. He says the order was made to help a private company win a lucrative contract at a time when Anupong was serving as the army chief.

Anupong responded that the DDPM is responsible for picking the helicopter supplier via a transparent and accountable bidding process, and that as long as the company that wins the bidding strictly follows the law, there is no problem. He vowed to take legal action against anyone found acting illegally.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Government nominates Tham Luang park for ASEAN heritage ranking

Maya Taylor



Government nominates Tham Luang park for ASEAN heritage ranking | The Thaiger

The Thai government has nominated Tham Luang Forest Park in the northern province of Chiang Rai for ASEAN heritage status. The park made headline news around the world when 13 young boys and their football coach became trapped in Tham Luang cave following flooding.

Today marks two years to the day that all 14 were found alive by a team of volunteer divers from the UK and Thailand. At that stage, they had been missing for 9 days. Such were the complexities involved in getting them out, they would spend a total of 17 days in the cave. Their story became headline news, with the world anxiously watching a dramatic rescue that unfolded over the course of 3 days.

Tham Luang Forest Park is now going through the process of becoming a national park, and, following a proposal by Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, has been nominated for ASEAN heritage status. Khao Sok National Park, in southern Thailand, has also been nominated. The ranking would boost the profiles of both parks, which it’s hoped would lead to an increase in funding for conservation projects. It’s understood several endangered species can be found within Tham Luang Forest Park, which is also surrounded by 10 ethnic groups, including the Tai-Yai and Akha peoples.

There are currently 6 parks with ASEAN heritage status in Thailand.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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