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Environment

National parks may close annually to recover wildlife

Caitlin Ashworth

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National parks may close annually to recover wildlife | Thaiger
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Environmentalist think Thailand’s national parks need to take a break. They’re considering closing the parks once a year to give wildlife time to rehabilitate. Since many parks have been closed during the coronavirus pandemic, wildlife has returned to areas, according to Environment and Natural resources Minister Varawut Silpa-archa.

By closing the parks for a 2 to 4 months out of the year, Varawut says parks will be able to improve conservation and recover from damage done during the tourist season. They plan to start the annual closures next year which will be staggered so not all the parks are closed at the same time. Some parks already close annually during the rainy season.

“This is so that nature can rehabilitate itself and the park rangers can improve the parks.”

Thailand has more than 100 national parks. Some popular ones are Phi Phi Islands and Phang Nga Bay. Both offer many party boat excursions. Koh Phi Phi Ley’s Maya Bay will continue to be closed. Years of mass tourism to Maya Bay, the spot where the “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed, caused so much damage that it could take up to 40 years for the coral reefs to recover, Varawut says.

More than 20 million people visited the parks last year, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Last year’s park fees added up to 2.2 billion baht. With international travel restrictions still in place, the government expects a drastic drop in the number of visitors.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    barry

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    As a side-note, Similan and Surin islands Marine National Parks already close from May to October

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    I thought this was standard for all parks.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    There will be not tourist season in these parks for a long time,certainly not from westerners Paying 500 when the This pay B50.
    This is just an excuse to close the parks. Truth is that that they will be deserted anyway.

  4. Avatar

    Bill Fischer

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Phang Nga Bay is not crowded. There are only a few spots that get too many visitors: James Bond Island, Koh Hong (both of them), Koh Panak, and Koh Khai Nok. Just come up with volume limits, control the tacky mass tourism operators and you won’t have to shut the entire bay down. Oh wait, that would mean the park rangers would actually have to do something. Nevermind, just shut it down so they can relax.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Environment

Survey underway as experts attempt to save James Bond island from erosion

Maya Taylor

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Survey underway as experts attempt to save James Bond island from erosion | Thaiger
PHOTO: Michaela Loheit on Flickr

Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working with other environmental departments to determine how best to save a popular tourist attraction. Khao Ta Pu, commonly known as James Bond island, in the southern province of Phang Nga, is at risk of collapse, due to seawater erosion. The ministry is working with counterparts in the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in efforts to save the islet.

The natural marine park landmark, a chunk of 20-metre high limestone, got its nickname after featuring in the James Bond movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun”, in 1974. It is part of Ao Phang Nga National Park. The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa, says efforts are underway to determine the extent of seawater erosion.

“The ministry is working with the Department of Mineral Resources and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to survey the islet and surrounding areas to find ways to prevent erosion that might cause it to collapse. We are adapting the techniques used in surveying damage of limestone at Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park in Surat Thani province and at the Pun Yod Rock Castle in Satun province.”

Varawut is hopeful the islet’s foundation can be strengthened without impacting its natural beauty.

“A 3D scanner, marine seismic scanner, and echo sounder have been deployed to gather necessary information. Preliminary estimation suggests that we can reinforce the islet’s foundation without jeopardising the scenery. Furthermore, we are establishing a monitoring programme with cooperation from local communities to track changes of weather and marine conditions in the area that might affect the landmark.”

Last October, a large chunk broke off Koh Mae Urai, near Phi Phi island in the southern province of Krabi. The huge piece broke off in 2 sections, estimated to weigh around 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes, and collapsed onto a coral reef popular with scuba divers.

SOURCE: Inquirer.net

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Environment

Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation

Maya Taylor

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Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation | Thaiger
PHOTO: Alex Berger / Flickr

As Thailand accuses a Netflix documentary of using outdated and inaccurate information about the country’s fishing industry, a number of global environmental experts are echoing similar criticisms. According to a report in Coconuts, Seaspiracy has been slammed for being full of inaccuracies and twisting the science behind the damage to the world’s oceans, minimising the role of climate change and plastic pollution.

Brian Kahn, a journalist with an MA in Climate and Society, has written a piece called, Don’t Watch Netflix’s Seaspiracy, in which he also accuses the documentary of resorting to racial stereotypes.

“The bad guys are Asians, specifically Japanese whale and dolphin hunters and Chinese consumers of shark fin soup. The good guys – in this case, the experts he cites – are mostly white.”

According to the Coconuts report, the Marine Stewardship Council in London agrees the documentary contains “several inaccuracies” and the Plastic Pollution Coalition says the makers have “cherry-picked” quotes that will fit with their narrative. Marine biology magazine, Hakai, has also weighed in on the matter.

“Though the film misleads viewers with oversimplified science, its real harm is that it ignores the history, culture, and systemic inequities that are entwined with ocean conservation.”

Seaspiracy had its global release last month and has become one of the top 10 most-watched offerings on the Netflix streaming service. Opinion is divided, with many praising British filmmaker Ali Tabrizi for highlighting the issues with the global fishing industry, while others have slammed it for being biased and scientifically inaccurate.

The Royal Thai Navy has also criticised its portrayal of the country’s fishing industry, claiming it’s based on outdated information. In 2015, reporter Thapanee Eadsrichai exposed the significant role human trafficking and slavery played in the industry. This led to a crackdown of sorts, although slavery is still suspected of playing a role, on a smaller scale. The EU then threatened to ban all Thai seafood when the Kingdom’s illegal fishing practices came to light, but backed down when Thailand took steps to rectify the situation.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Thailand

Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution

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Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the State of Global Air 2020 Report, around 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand, back in 2019, have been attributed to air pollution. The report cites the PM2.5 pollution particles as the main culprit as particles in that size range are the most likely to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.

Exposure to these fine particles can cause short-term health effects, such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. But the long-term effects of being exposed to the particles is much more sinister.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be more sensitive to PM2.5 particles.

In Thailand, it’s burning season in the north as farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to iqair.com

SOURCE: Sky News/Health.ny.gov

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