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Maya Bay’s closure could be further extended – Dr Thon

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Maya Bay’s closure could be further extended – Dr Thon | The Thaiger
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Maya Bay, closed to the public since last June to allow its beach and coral to recover, will remain shut to visitors for at least another two years as its ecology needs more time to heal.

“The director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Tanya Netithammakul will have the final say on whether to reopen the site for tourism and on which date.”

This from assistant dean of Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries Thon Thamrongnawasawat in his capacity as a member of the DNP’s marine park management advisory board.

Meanwhile some tour boats are still operating at the jaws of the famous bay.

“We have the restricted area that people cannot go inside Maya Bay, the area at the border before entering the Bay is still a snorkelling area.”

Maya Bay's closure could be further extended - Dr Thon | News by The Thaiger

After the reopening, a series of measures will be imposed on Maya Bay and adjacent Loh Sama Bay, located within Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, to limit the number of tourists and ban tour boats from entering through the front bay. Such measures would be essential to protect corals and reef sharks in the area, Thon said.

The DNP is in the process of implementing measures to minimise the environmental impact as well as build facilities such as nature study trails, piers and housing for officials. A future e-ticket system and a vessel monitoring system would also improve tourist management, Thon said.

“These facilities and systems would be tested first to assess their impact on the environment before authorities decided whether and when to reopen Maya Bay for tourism.”

Songtham Suksawang, director of the DNP’s National Park Office, said that after Maya Bay was reopened, the park authority would conduct follow-up reports on environmental impacts every three months in order to determine the appropriate number of tourists per session and per day in order to conserve the natural resources.

Maya Bay, with its white-powder sands and beautiful coral reef, is located in the Phi Phi islands between Krabi and Phuket. It was made famous by the 2000 Hollywood film The Beach starring Leonardo Di Caprio, but was badly battered by the year-round tourist traffic – up to 5,000 visitors a day.

Maya Bay's closure could be further extended - Dr Thon | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Smog across Bangkok can be blamed on a ‘Dust Dome’ of pollutants

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Smog across Bangkok can be blamed on a ‘Dust Dome’ of pollutants | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

Poor air quality across Bangkok in the past week are not just caused by the PM2.5 dust. We can blame a ‘dust dome’ that is formed with low atmospheric pressure, dust and pollutants from the farmland waste burning, and greenhouse gases.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa says that the pollutants come from “the improper disposal” of farming waste around Bangkok’s northern outskirts. He also asked provincial governors to ask farmers to avoid burring farm waste. If they refuse to cooperate, there might be an order to ban all outdoor burning activities in the future, while suggesting that farmers should sell their agricultural waste instead of burning it.

The mentioning of the agricultural sector being major contributors to Bangkok’s smog problems is a rare official recognition of the pollution ‘elephant in the room’.

People in Bangkok are also being encouraged to avoid outdoor activities and wear their masks when going outside to prevent both the pollutants and Covid-19. While “unhealthy level” of PM2.5 has been reported in many areas over the past week, the Department of Pollution Control is considering both short-term and long-term measures to tackle the air pollution problems.

Measures that have been rolled out include an extension of the work-from-home policy, lowering the price of low sulphur fuel in the capital and its vicinity, extensive monitoring of waste burning on farms, as well as offering higher prices for sugarcane products which were made in a sustainable manner.

For a long-term plan, the department is considering setting a new standard of air quality by lowering the “safe” threshold for PM2.5 exposure below the current level, but this is likely to happen in the next 5 years. Also, the government aims to apply the Euro-5 standard for vehicle emissions by 2024.

He also says that the pollution situation in Thailand has seen improvement after the measures were implemented. And, the number of days where [air quality] exceeded safe standards was less than 20% of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Environment

Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires

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Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires | The Thaiger

Thailand is burning. The burning off of harvested crop plantations is lighting up the agricultural areas. The truth is starkly revealed in the live NASA satellite feeds which track the fires around the world.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

CHART: Fires in the past 10 days around parts of Thailand – Firms.Modaps

Concentrations of the current fires can be seen in Central Thailand, north of Bangkok, parts of Isaan, north east of Bangkok, and around Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Notably the concentration of fires in northern Cambodia and across the north-western border in Myanmar, is also causing plenty of problems as the foreign smoke drifts across the borders. No matter what Thai officials do to enforce the rice, sugar and corn plantation burn-offs, there is little they can do about the haze drifting across the borders.

Bangkok, so close to clusters of fires, is in for a bad air pollution day anytime the light winds of the start of the year blow from the north or the east. The lack of rain adds to the problem, the annual problem, that engulfs Thailand’s capital during days between December and April, with the worst month, statistically, being March.

The alternative method of preparing for the next harvest, mechanical removal of the refuse and waste after harvesting, is both unpopular in Thailand and economically unviable for the small farmers whose margins remain thin with the multi-national buyers of their produce pushing for lower and lower prices every year.

In Chiang Mai, from January to the end of March, the locals even call it the ‘burning season’. Coupled with the hot season, the farmers in northern Thailand burn their fields to prepare land for the next harvest and also to get rid of biowastes like corn that can’t be sold in the market. It’s officially illegal to do the burn offs but the lack of enforcement leaves the problem unresolved and the smog and haze remain as predictable as the annual wet season.

Chiang Mai also has a local geographic problem which exacerbates the bad smoke pollution. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, trapping in the smoke and helping block any breezes that could otherwise blow it away.

For today, Bangkok’s air pollution is better than the past two days but still registering as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ with city readings mostly between 140 – 170. Parts of the city, mostly south-east and south west, were registering readings above 300 in the past few days.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: IQair.com

Watch this video for some more information about Bangkok’s smog…

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Thailand

Wildfires hit Mae Hong Son’s Pai district

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Wildfires hit Mae Hong Son’s Pai district | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Several wildfires have broken out in Mae Hong Son’s Pai district in Northern Thailand. The governor says he believes that several blazes happening in the area are a result of the dry season arriving earlier than usual.

Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer system, the local forest fire control centre detected 155 so-called “heat points” in the Pai district from January 1 to 12. Last year’s dry season only 96 heat points were detected.

There are no reports of property damages, injuries, or deaths.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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