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PM denies government split over toxic chemical ban

Maya Taylor

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PM denies government split over toxic chemical ban | Thaiger
PHOTO: Chularat Saengpassa / Nation Thailand

As officials continue to debate a recently-introduced ban on paraquat and chlorpyrifos, the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha denies the government is split on the matter. He points out that coalition governments will always have differing viewpoints and that such differences will not affect the administration’s overall unity. Currently Glyphosate hasn’t been included in the ban.

“Our core priorities are public health and welfare. And the truth is, any drastic changes do take time and we have to go step by step. The government will choose the best way to improve the safety of both farmers and consumers. All parties involved will therefore have to find a way to move forward.”

The statement comes after Chalermchai Srion, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, submitted a petition to the National Hazardous Substances Committee, calling for a limit on the use of the chemicals, rather than an outright ban. Chalermchai is a member of the Democrat Party, whereas the Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, who fully supports the ban, is from the Bhumjaithai Party.

According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Anutin says that, with the ban now incorporated into Industry Ministry regulations, it cannot be easily overturned. He adds that in discussions with Chalermchai, the Democrat Party MP says he was simply following the wishes of the country’s farmers in submitting the petition and that it did not necessarily reflect his own views.

Meanwhile, the opposition has seized on signs of potential discord, with Chawalit Wichayasut from the Pheu Thai Party calling on the PM to clarify the government’s official stance on the matter, rather than acting as a go-between for parties both for and against the ban.

“The fact of the matter is, more than 90% of those who advocate the use of these dangerous farm chemicals usually hire poor and ill-informed workers to handle the substances. It is them who suffer the serious health consequences. Some of them have even had to have their legs amputated because of complications from repeated exposure, leading them to become disabled.”

Chawalit adds that a study carried out by Naresuan University, in the northern province of Phitsanulok, shows that paraquat can infiltrate underwater springs, potentially affecting the safety of tap water.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Michael Lewis

    Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Wake up Maya Taylor, your article once again is spreading false statements.

    Glyphosate has NOT BEEN BANNED by the Thai government. Why did you ignore my previous comment just a few days ago.

    You also falsely state: Source Bangkok Post. The Bangkok Post article does NOT STATE that Glyphosate was banned. Did you work for MSM before this job?

  2. Avatar

    Gary Farmer

    Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 9:04 am

    I was using Glyphosate in the United Kingdom back in the early 1980’s before it was banned there. The product can be effective if used as per instructions but repeated use on the same land will leech into the water table affecting who knows what and whom. The locals using this product in Thailand are probably unaware of the wide Banning of it outside Thailand (for good reason in relation to human health), they are no doubt spreading it without the use of respirators or other suitable PPE equipment and kept in the dark around its toxicity and the dangers they are putting themselves in.

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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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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic

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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Phuket’s beaches are perhaps one of the only silver linings from the Covid pandemic, with marine life visibly rebounding after a long break from tourism, at least that’s what the Tourism Authority of Thailand says. The tourism officials say the huge reduction in tourist traffic has contributed to the Andaman Sea and coastlines becoming clearer than it has been in a long time, with local reservoirs teeming with fresh water.

But tourism officials didn’t mention the recent sea urchin phenomenon where hundreds of the red spiky sea creatures washed up on Patong Beach. A marine life expert in Phuket says wastewater being dumped in the Andaman Sea led to an algae bloom near the shoreline. Sea urchins moved to feast on the algae, but ended up getting stranded on the beach due to the tides. He says the sea urchins need to be in the ocean because they filter the water and serve as “cleaner of the sea.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand recently released a statement, hyping up the Phuket beaches and saying the beaches have been “revitalised,” just as the island province prepares to reopen in July to vaccinated visitors.

They say Kamala Beach is still a popular destination, with a family-friendly atmosphere that offers tranquility along with snorkelling and swimming. Surin and Bangtao beaches are quieter than usual but still remain an excellent choice for those tourists who wish to partake in the nightlife and clubbing scene, according to TAT.

Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Nai Thon, and Sai Kaeo beaches, in northern Phuket, are visibly rejuvenated areas to visit as well. The 4 beaches are part of Sirinat National Park, where Olive Ridley sea turtles and Leatherneck turtles have returned during the pandemic to lay eggs. The Olive Ridley turtles were seen laying eggs on Mai Khao Beach after 20 years of no activity. The Leatherneck turtles also returned to lay eggs after 10 years of being absent.

The process to compromise between tourism and nature, started a few years ago with the beaches only allowing 10% to be consumed by vendors, umbrellas, and beach chairs. The southern beaches of Kata, Nai Han, and Kata Noi have also benefitted from the 10% vendor zone rule, as all seem to be returning to their original, pristine conditions they displayed a decade ago.

SOURCE: TAT News| Phuket News

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