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10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future

The Thaiger

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10 ways Thailand is moving to a greener future | The Thaiger
PHOTO: North eastern agriculture goes mod - The Isaan Record

“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.

If you’d like to check out homes, villas, condos and other property all around Thailand, to live in or for investment, go to FazWaz.com

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Thailand

WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade

Caitlin Ashworth

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WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | The Thaiger
Wildcat skins confiscated in a crackdown by Thai authorities in March 2019. Photo by Wildlife Friends Foundation Branch

The following is a press release submitted by WildAid, a non-profit organisation pushing to end illegal wildlife trade.

In honor of World Wildlife Day, WildAid is launching a series of advertisements highlighting the plight of endangered species, a result of poaching to meet consumer demand for wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horns, shark fin, tiger parts and helmeted hornbill casques. The advertisements released today feature the five species and ask the public to react against wildlife trade by refusing wildlife products and reporting illegal wildlife crime to authorities.

Like many markets, trade in wildlife and wildlife products is shifting online. TRAFFIC’s monitoring of 31 websites and e-commerce platforms in China between 2012 and 2016 found ivory was the most-advertised wildlife product (60%), while rhino horns and associated products were the second most-traded products (20%). In the last few years, social media has also played a role in fostering the illegal wildlife trade because of the platform’s popularity and reach. A more recent study in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam recorded 2,489 ivory items for sale in 545 posts on social media platforms over the span of just five days in July 2019.

The series of advertisements launched through social media is in response to the increasing market and accessibility of wildlife products on popular platforms. The concept of the advertisements was developed pro bono by BBDO Bangkok, Thailand’s leading creative and advertising agency. The #ReactAgainstWildlifeTrade campaign uses a familiar “angry reaction” emoji to illustrate the message that killing endangered species for their parts is unacceptable and this senseless poaching should evoke anger in us all. The campaign was developed based on WildAid’s slogan “When the buying stops, the killing can too,” with an aim to encourage people to REACT against any wildlife trade on their social media channels, putting social pressure on those who are consuming or selling wildlife products.

The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry largely driven by consumer demand in expanding economies. The demand for illegal wildlife is highest in Asia, where owning or consuming wildlife products is reflective of status, wealth, or purported health benefits.

For 20 years, WildAid has been campaigning to end the demand for illegal wildlife products using the same technique as top advertisers and delivering high-impact media campaigns. The campaigns are featured on broadcast television and radio, on trains and airplanes, at bus stops and subway stations, and on online platforms, adapting to shifting trends in the wildlife market.

“WildAid’s campaigns are designed keeping in mind cultural and consumer insights, and the latest trends for maximum impact. As a result, there have been significant drops in prices and consumption of endangered species products, such as ivory, rhino horn and shark fin,” said John Baker, Chief Program Officer at WildAid. “We hope that these ads will continue to help increase unacceptability of trading and posting wildlife products online, as well as offline.”

The United Nations estimates that global illegal wildlife trade is worth between $7 and $23 billion a year, making it the fourth-largest illicit trade after arms, drugs and human trafficking. The trade puts not only biodiversity and endangered species at risk, but also our health and economies, as highlighted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak which likely emerged from a live animal market.

“We are proud to support WildAid in its fight to help protect endangered wildlife,” said Somkiat Larptanunchaiwong, CEO at BBDO Bangkok. “BBDO Bangkok is deeply concerned by the depletion of wildlife populations worldwide and the trade of products, such as elephant ivory, rhino horn, shark fin and tiger parts. With this hard-hitting advertisement developed for WildAid, we are confident that our efforts can have an impact on ending consumer consumption behaviors that threaten our planet’s biodiversity.”

“Every small action matters! #ReactAgainstWildlifeTrade every time you see wildlife products on your social media.” added Anuwat Nitipanont, Chief Creative Officer at BBDO Bangkok.

The series of advertisements will be launched through WildAid’s platforms in the U.S, Hong Kong and Thailand.

WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | News by The Thaiger WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | News by The Thaiger

Among the adult urban Thai population, roughly 500,000 own ivory products and around 250,000 use tiger products based on USAID Wildlife Asia’s 2018 study, Research on Consumer Demand for Ivory and Tiger Products in Thailand. In addition, roughly 750,000 intend to buy and use these products in the future. An estimated 2.5 million and around 1.8 million adult urban Thais find use of ivory and tiger products socially acceptable, respectively. The study also found that the belief held by some that the power of elephants and tigers can bring good fortune and ward off evil is another driver of demand for derivative products from these endangered animals.

Helmeted Hornbill: TRAFFIC’s online survey in Thailand found a minimum of 236 online posts offering a minimum of 546 hornbill parts and products in 32 of the 40 groups surveyed on Facebook. These were posted over a period of 64 months, spanning June 2014 to April 2019. Helmeted Hornbill parts and products constituted 452 (83%) of all hornbill commodities recorded.

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Environment

Bryde’s whale in Gulf of Thailand gives birth to third baby

Maya Taylor

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Bryde’s whale in Gulf of Thailand gives birth to third baby | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jirayu Ekkul / Nation Thailand

A Bryde’s whale living in the Gulf of Thailand has given birth to her third baby whale. Nation Thailand reports that Mae Thong Dee was photographed by wildlife photographer Jirayu Ekkul, whose team has been monitoring the whale. It’s understood she has a number of injuries, including a ripped dorsal fin and serious eye injuries.

“We found Mae Thong Dee and her baby whales about 2 hours after taking a ship to the Gulf of Thailand. It may have been our destiny to meet these whales.”

Jirayu says that 2 years ago, there were concerns Mae Thong Dee wouldn’t survive after sustaining injuries to her eyes, but the latest sighting has given them hope.

“I finally realise why she ate so much and lived in the gulf for over 9 months. It wanted to take care of its health to give birth to a baby whale.”

The Bryde’s whale belongs to the same group as blue whales and humpback whales. Usually spotted individually or in pairs, they will sometimes gather in groups of around 20 in feeding areas. The Bryde’s whale is on Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, with its conservation status listed as unfavourable. It is also covered by the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and Their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region. It was named after Johan Bryde, the Norwegian consul to South Africa, who helped create the first modern whaling station in the country.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Chon Buri

Chon Buri zoo invites people to vote on baby hippo’s name – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Chon Buri zoo invites people to vote on baby hippo’s name – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Rath

A zoo in the eastern province of Chon Buri is inviting people to vote on the name of a baby pygmy hippopotamus born last month. Anuphong Anont from Khao Kheow Open Zoo says the baby made its first public appearance yesterday.

“The female baby hippo was born on January 14 to 6-year-old mother Kanya and 21-year-old father Tony. The baby hippo is healthy but is very attached to her mum, so we let them have some privacy before introducing the new family member to the public.”

VIDEO: Thai Rath

The zoo is home to 10 hippos and now 8 pygmy hippos, which are a tenth of the size of regular hippos. Among the zoo’s residents is Mali, Thailand’s oldest hippopotamus, who is 55 years old. Visitors to the zoo are being asked to choose from 2 potential names for the latest arrival, with voting taking place on the facility’s Facebook page.

“We have narrowed it down to 2 choices: Moo Wan or Bacon. People can vote for their favourite choice at the zoo’s Facebook page until April 5.”

Nation Thailand reports that everyone who votes will be entered into a draw, with a chance to win the top prize of 3,000 baht. 10 others will receive free entry to the zoo for a year. The results will be announced on April 12.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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