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Online app will enable volunteers to monitor Thailand’s ‘hazardous’ farm chemicals

Jack Burton

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Thailand’s Department of Disease Control and mobile phone service providers AIS are launching an online application to enable health volunteers and officials to monitor farmers’ use of the hazardous herbicide paraquat, and pesticides glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. In November, the National Hazardous Substances Committee cancelled a December 1 ban on glyphosate and delayed the enforcement of the ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos for six months.

The ban was controversial and the US stepped in, urging Thailand to reverse the bans, saying it would disrupt Thailand’s export of soybean, wheat, coffee, apples, grapes and other produce.

One UNSC official resigned in protest over the reversal and the Government opposition have weaponised the about-face as a tool to discredit the ruling parties. Environmentalists and health officials have demanded a complete ban on the importation and use of all three chemicals.

Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, the DDC’s director-general and Veerawat Kiatpongthavorn, chief of business relations at Advance Wireless Network, an affiliate of AIS, signed an MoU yesterday where AWN will provide the mobile app for use by health volunteers.

Suwanchai says the department has always attached importance to improving the health and livelihood of farmers susceptible to the threats posed by farm chemicals. The information gained from surveying the use of the substances will enable the department to develop control and preventive measures.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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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.

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