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Environment

Member of committee to ban farm chemicals quits in protest over U-turn

The Thaiger

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Member of committee to ban farm chemicals quits in protest over U-turn | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Assoc. Prof. Jiraporn Limpananont Pongspaj Samranvejporn – Thai PBS World

The Thai Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit is being challenged over his claims of a “unanimous vote of support” to overturn the decision to ban the controversial agri-chemicals.

A member of the National Hazardous Substances Committee, that oversaw the original ban on the agri-chemicals paraquat, chlorpyrifos and glyphosate, has resigned in protest at the committee’s reversal of the decision.

Associate Professor Jiraporn Limpananont is challenging a claim, made by Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, that the committee had “unanimously resolved to delay the bans on paraquat and chlorpyrifos for six months until June 1, and to allow indefinite controlled use of glyphosate”.

In her Facebook post, the lecturer at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Chulalongkorn University, claimed that Mr. Suriya, who chaired the meeting, was “inaccurate”. She says there was, in fact, no unanimous decision by the committee and that her belief in a ban on the three chemicals remains unchanged.

She claims that individual members of the committee where not asked whether they agreed to postponing or modifying enforcement of the ban, but were “forced” to accept the resolution. She also challenges Mr. Suriya’s statement to the media that glyphosate, a product from US manufacturing giant Monsanto, is safe.

At a media gathering last night, Mr. Suriya explained that no committee members objected to the resolution overturning the resolution of the previous NHSC, which was to ban the three chemicals from December 1. He also claimed that glyphosate is currently used in 161 countries and its ban would seriously affect the import of agricultural products from those countries.

The industry minister maintained that the meeting had taken into consideration all aspects regarding the issue.

Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who said only three days ago that there would be no delay to the ban on the farm chemicals, is on a collision course with the committee and the coalition over the matter. Anutin is leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, who have a large slice of MPs in the current government coalition. If they pulled their support, which has been threatened before, the government would lose any confidence vote in the parliament.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Environment

Plant-based meat alternatives gain popularity in a fertile Asian market

Tim Newton

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Plant-based meat alternatives gain popularity in a fertile Asian market | The Thaiger

PHOTO: delish.com

Being a vegetarian, or vegan, in the land of smiles is a challenge. There are some excellent vegetarian options opening up, particularly in the tourist zones of Thailand. But outside of that you’re struggling to find dedicated vegetarian options and just have to ask for your favourite Thai food, but without the meat.

But Asia, particularly south east Asia, is coming to the attention of the western alternative meat market. Because they’re starting to make really interesting, and tasty, meat alternatives and they want to get a slice of the Asian market too.

In one of the largest meat-eating regions in the world (Asia), where nearly 50% of the world’s meat products are consumed, it’s a fertile market indeed for the growing number of vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians (people who eat a mostly non-meat diet but occasionally may have some meat as well).

The producers of the alternative meat products are now looking to take a bite out of the Asian market.

Impossible Foods, a developer of plant-based substitutes for meat products, has set its eyes on the meat market in Asia. The American firm, famous for its meatless-burgers, intends to make the region a key focus due to its huge meat consumption. The almost tasteless and inedible vegetarian ‘patties’ of a decade ago are now rich in flavour and gaining a large following as a viable and tasty alternative.

Asia accounts for over 46% of the world’s meat intake according to the Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028 by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

And analysts at investment bank Barclays, predict that the alternative meat market is expected to hit US$140 billion within the next ten years.

Since April 2018, Impossible Foods has already featured its plant-based meat and dairy products in some of Hong Kong’s beloved restaurants such as Little Bao, Happy Paradise, and Beef & Liberty. But they’re not the only alternative meat brand eager to supply its products to the Asian market. Rival brands such as Quorn in the UK) and Beyond Meat from US, have been supplying meat alternatives in the region since 2015.

Quorn’s meat free products are readily available in Singapore through FairPrice Online and RedMart, while Beyond Meat’s alternative meat products are sold at NTUC Fairprice Finest and Little Farms outlets in the country. In Asia, supermarket brands like Villa Mart are carrying more alternative meat products, and they are featured often in vegetarian restaurants and starting to appear in menus of mainstream restaurants as well.

How mainstream? Even Michelin have provided a recent guide to some of the best meant-alternatives around at the moment.

As more Asians continue to adopt a vegan and flexitarian diet, the growing demand for plant-based meat alternatives is expected to steadily increase in the coming years.

NB. I’ll admit to being vegetarian, part-time flexitarian, eater and happy to promote more plant-based alternatives for our diets. If you know of, or can identify, some good vegetarian restaurants or sources for meat-alternative products, we’ll gather your intel and make an article to help people find vegetarian options. Send you email market ‘VEGETARIAN’ HERE. T

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Environment

Government hoping to turbo-charge Thai new car sales

May Taylor

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Government hoping to turbo-charge Thai new car sales | The Thaiger

A number of proposals are being looked at by The Excise Department in a bid to convince Thai citizens to purchase new vehicles rather than going down the used car route.

The Nation reports that some cost-reducing incentives are being considered, with the aim of cutting the number of polluting vehicles on Thailand’s roads, with The Excise Department planning talks with the relevant government agencies and private sector on December 16.

The President of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)’s Automotive Industry Club, says the current car market and its associated environmental problems is being looked at, with an increase in PM2.5 particles from some older cars posing serious concern.

“It was proposed that auto components, such as car batteries, be added to the draft management plan for electrical appliances and electronic devices. Cars in our country are expensive, so consumers tend to use old cars for a long time. The department suggested that they should launch incentive measures to encourage people to change cars.”

It’s understood that talks will focus on the cost-saving incentives that could be introduced to make purchasing a new vehicle more affordable. Many other countries have adopted similar measures in the past, notably Barack Obama’s 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” campaign, launched to boost the automotive industry in the US.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Calls for Government to take shark fin soup off the menu at official functions

May Taylor

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Calls for Government to take shark fin soup off the menu at official functions | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Government members arrive at the Rajpruek Club on Tuesday night for dinner including shark-fin soup – Pornprom Satrabhaya/Bangkok Post

Shark Fin-Gate has riled plenty of activists and opened up an environmental can of worms.

An environmental foundation is calling on the Government to stop serving shark fin soup at its functions, after it was revealed that the dish had been served at a government dinner earlier this week. See story HERE.

Thai PBS World reports that The Seub Nakhasathien Foundation is now asking the Government to review various projects they claim could have serious implications for the environment.

The organisation has sent a letter to the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, saying the serving of shark fin soup at a government dinner was clear evidence of the indifference felt by officials about environmental issues, and proof of their insensitivity to protecting the country’s natural resources. The infamous dinner on Tuesday night was held the day before Thai Environment Day.

Using data from a report published in the Marine Policy Scientific Journal, the foundation says about 100 million sharks are killed in a horrific manner each year for their fins. It calls on the government to issue an order to all state agencies to take shark fin soup off the menu at all official get-togethers and to lead by example for the rest of the country.

It’s also asking for a review into some other projects it has serious concerns about. The group say that a project to divert water from one reservoir in western Thailand to another will seriously impact the Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, decimating its flora and fauna. They are calling on the government to change the route of the water diversion in order to protect the sanctuary.

In addition, they say a deep-sea port project in Pak Bara, southern Thailand, will have negative consequences for the Petra marine park, with the additional traffic and activity caused by the project affecting the park’s marine ecosystem and the local tourism industry.

Also in the letter are calls for a delay to Bangkok’s Chao Phraya riverside promenade project, saying the development will ruin the famous river’s cultural and historical identity. They add that a sea walls project run by the government has been shown to be a futile attempt at stopping coastal erosion.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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