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Bangkok’s Skypark could inspire more green areas across the region

Jack Burton

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Bangkok’s Skypark could inspire more green areas across the region | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Thailand Construction

“It is an example of how to repurpose an abandoned structure and increase green spaces in Bangkok through cost-effective design.”

Bangkok’s new “Skypark,” built on an abandoned, never-completed Skytrain track, could become be a model for turning the capital’s unused spaces into much-needed green areas. Such an initiative would also boost public health and mitigate the impacts of climate change, urban experts told Reuters. Chao Phraya Skypark, scheduled to open later this month, connects neighbourhoods on both sides of the Chao Phraya river. The new green space is built on an elevated rail line that lay unused for more than 30 years.

According to the director of the Urban Design and Development Centre, a consultancy that led the project:

“It may not be large, but it has outsized importance as a catalyst for urban regeneration. What’s more it can also change the way people look at public spaces. It is an example of how to repurpose an abandoned structure and increase green spaces in Bangkok through cost-effective design.”

The shortage of green spaces in Bangkok and other crowded cities has recently come under heavy scrutiny, triggering a rush to parks for exercise, fresh air and sunlight. According to a study last year by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, the health benefits are clear: city dwellers tend to live longer in leafy neighbourhoods.

Bangkok is predicted by some climate experts to be an urban area among those hardest hit by extreme weather conditions in coming years. Flooding is already common during the monsoon season, but by 2030 nearly 40% of the city could become flooded each year due to more intense rainfall, according to World Bank estimates.

Skypark, measuring 280 meters by 8 meters, makes it easier for residents to access nearby schools, markets and places of worship, The goal, according to the UDDC director, is to replicate Paris’s “15-minute city”, where people can reach their destination within 15 minutes of walking, cycling or using mass transit.”

Throughout Asia’s space-starved metropolises, developers and planners are increasingly turning to so-called “dead land” under bridges, flyovers and viaducts.

“Chao Phraya Skypark can be a model for swathes of unused land under the city’s expressways. Parks and rooftop gardens can reduce air pollution and harmful emissions, and also limit flooding.

“With Skypark we have shown it is possible to create green spaces from existing structures that can be valuable in fighting climate change.”

SOURCE: Reuters

Bangkok's Skypark could inspire more green areas across the region | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Protests

PM defends measures used against Sunday protesters

Maya Taylor

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PM defends measures used against Sunday protesters | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AFP

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence at the 1st Infantry Regiment barracks, King’s Guard. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards.

“I insist the crowd-control measures were in accordance with international standards and police did not violate the protesters’ rights.”

The PM has also criticised some media outlets for their reporting of the rally, claiming they only focused on officers’ use of force against protesters. 33 people were injured at the rally – 23 police officers and 10 protesters. One police officer, named in a Bangkok Post report as Wiwat Sinprasert, died of heart failure. 22 protesters have been arrested, 4 of whom are minors who will have their cases heard in the Central Juvenile and Family Court.

Phukphong Phongpetra from the MPB says the use of rubber bullets was necessary in order to stop things getting out of control. He says protesters also gathered outside Din Daeng and Suthisarn police stations, where they set fire to police cars. He claims 90 officers were injured in the clashes, with 27 receiving hospital treatment.

National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says the measures used by police were not aimed at dispersing protesters, but rather to arrest anyone using violence against officers. He claims this latest protest was different to others, in that some activists kicked things off by attacking police officers.

“We’ve discussed it several times that we will enforce the laws where necessary. If the protesters didn’t harm officers or destroy barriers, we wouldn’t have had to act. And the protesters, they were unable to control each other.”

Opposition politicians have slammed the measures used against protesters, with Rangsiman Rome from the Move Forward Party claiming police fired rubber bullets at random and not at any particular targets.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Bangkok protest fallout, northern fire bans | March 1 | The Thaiger

Coming up today… the fallout from yesterday’s latest protest violence in Bangkok, the first vaccine in Thailand who got it, and a major drug haul along the Mekong.

But first we’ll start up north where Lampang Province is joining other northern provinces todday by putting a total fire ban in place from today, March 1, until the end of April. Chiang Mai also started a ban on all deliberately lit fires from today and Lamphun, just south of Chiang Mai, already has one in place.

The bans are timely after a horrid weekend of air pollution in many of Thailand’s provinces over the long weekend, even as far south as the tourist destination of Phuket where visibility was down to about 1 kilometre and the smell of smoke was noticeable.

Whilst up in the north… 4 Thai women were arrested at a security checkpoint in Tak’s Mae Sot district after they illegally crossed the border from Myanmar into Thailand.

Illegal casinos and fancy hi-so massage parlours in Myanmar in areas near the border, have attracted wealthy Thais and Burmese. The establishments have also attracted plenty of Thais looking for well-paid work across the border.

In a major bust along the Mekong River, a notorious hotzone for drug trafficking, border patrol police seized 920 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis from a boat along the Nakhon Pathom riverbank, bordering Laos.

Now to the weekend violence as the protests resume where they left off last year…

At least 22 people were arrested during the major Bangkok protest yesterday. It turned violent as pro-democracy activists marched toward the Thai PM’s residence. It’s been reported that one officer died during the rally, reportedly due to heart failure.

At least 33 people were injured… that includes 23 police officers. The clashes happened in front of 1st Infantry Regiment barracks on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road and involved around 1,500-2,000 activists from the Restart Democracy movement, part of the Free Youth group. The group has been protesting against the government and calling for reform of the country’s constitution and monarchy since protests began in July of last year.

And Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine campaign started with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who received the first of China’s Sinovac vaccine yesterday. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha was initially planned to be the first to kick off Thailand’s immunisation plan with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but due to problems with paperwork, the PM’s injection was postponed.

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Bangkok

Nearly 300 cats rescued from Bangkok home shelters

Caitlin Ashworth

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Nearly 300 cats rescued from Bangkok home shelters | The Thaiger
Rescued cats at the 3DPet Hospital & Hotel

Nearly 300 cats, many in wire cages, were found in 2 recently abandoned home shelters in Bangkok. Some cats were found dead and an animal activist who rescued the cats says the homes were filthy and smelled of cat feces.

The owner of the homes was initially providing shelter for the stray cats, but due to the financial problems brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of donations, the owner could no longer afford to feed and care for the cats, according to animal activist Warattada Pattarodom. The owner did not come by for a while and a neighbour would sometimes come by to feed the cats.

“The owner did not come to this place for quite a while, many months. So you can say they were abandoned because of her unfortunate circumstance, but they were not abused.”

After being rescued from the homes, the cats were taken to various veterinarian clinics for check ups. One veterinarian said he was sure the cats would recover.

“The cats got stressed because they were in an enclosure for a long time… but after last night they started to snuggle in the cage when people approached.”

The cats will be sent to a shelter in Chiang Mai which is also caring for elephants. Since the pandemic, the Chiang Mai shelter started taking in cats. It now cares for nearly 1,000 cats.

SOURCES: Reuters | NBT World

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