The National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC) resolved on Tuesday October 22 to ban the import, sale and use of paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos in Thailand from December 1.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, a vocal supporter of the ban, hailed the resolution, saying the “heroic act” of the committee will be inscribed in the history of Thailand. He maintains that the ban on the three chemicals is not a political issue and his Bhumjaithai party did not politicize the issue for its own benefit, adding that as of December 1, possession of any of the three substances will be illegal.
26 of the 29 members of the NHSC attended the meeting, three of whom opted out of the vote over concerns of conflicts of interest arising from their close connections with the chemical industry.
Before the vote, the committee “considered reports from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, assuring the availability of alternative chemicals, and from the Public Health Ministry regarding the health risks posed by the three chemicals and the monitoring of residues of the substances in farm produce,” according to Thai PBS World.
Unlike previous votes by the committee, which were conducted behind closed doors, the Tuesday’s vote was open and transparent.
Meanwhile, the Rak Mae Klong group, which opposes the complete ban, has threatened to lodge a petition with the Administrative Court, demanding an injunction to suspend the December 1 enforcement of the ban. The group’s leader, Mrs. Anchulee Lam-amnuayporn, said that they will go to the Administrative Court on October 28.
SOURCE:thaipbsworld.comKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Thailand’s reservoirs and dams reaching critically low levels
The start of the annual wet season isn’t far away, maybe this month, but Thailand’s water sources are running on empty.
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported today, that Thailand has seen a large drop of useable water in dams and reservoirs by an average of 30% of their capacity, due to the lack of rain in the first three months of the year.
“21 dams in provinces of Lampang, Tak, Uttaradit, Chiang Mai, Uthai Thani, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Buriram, Suphan Buri, Lop Buri, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, Chonburi and Rayong have reported critically low water levels. Meanwhile, 187 reservoirs nationwide also reported water levels at below 30% including 50 reservoirs in the North, 100 in the Northeast, 33 in Central and four in the South.”
“It is expected that 6,065 villages in 139 districts and 714 subdistricts are currently being affected by the drought.”
So far there have been reports that 23 provinces declared as drought areas requiring emergency financial support by the Ministry of Finance. These provinces include Phayao, Nan, Chiang Rai, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchaboon, Uthai Thani, Nongkhai, Nakhon Sawan, Beung Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Kalasin, Mahasarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Sisaket, Chainat, Kanjanaburi, Suphanburi, Chachoengsao, and Prachinburi.
Phuket reservoirs are also at critically low levels, only surviving because of the drop in tourists to the island since January.
Songkran, the Thai New Year, on April 13, is usually the annual celebration of the end of the country’s hot season and the start of the annual wet season. The formal celebrations for Songkran have been postponed by the Thai government.
SOURCE: The NationKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Chiang Mai chokes as fires rage in the north of Thailand
Northern Thailand is choking under a toxic shroud and it’s not getting any better. Air pollution across the upper North remains “at critical levels,” in many areas, including some of the main population centres. Authorities are monitoring almost 400 active hotspots in Chiang Mai alone yesterday.
The air quality didn’t improve this morning, with IQAir recording “very unhealthy” air quality and hazardous PM2.5 dust levels at around 200 in parts of Chiang Mai and up to 270 around Chiang Rai today (below).
Thailand’s official safe level is 50: the World Health Organisation sets it at 25. Though it’s improved somewhat during the day, Chiang Mai once again rated world’s worst for air quality.
According a 2019 report, PM2.5 caused 23,800 premature deaths in Thailand in 2017.
Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat says fires have definitely affected air quality, with 17 provinces in the North reporting an increase in levels of PM2.5 pollutants yesterday. Only two, Nakhon Sawan and Uthai Thani in the north-east reported PM2.5 readings below the Pollution Control Department’s “safe” threshold.
Chiang Dao district in Chiang Mai reported the highest PM2.5 reading in the North yesterday at 360.
Narumon says the worsening pollution is due to a combination of factors which include arson, drought and wind patterns which trap pollutants right over Thailand. Others say agribusiness, with its annual plantation field burnings, continues to exacerbate the problem.
According to satellite data, on Saturday there were 3,809 hotspots in Thailand, 5,061 in Laos and 10,061 in Myanmar. As of yesterday, 398 hotspots, nearly 10% of the country’s total, were found in Chiang Mai.
Most of the blazes were related to a continuing bushfire in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which suddenly raged out of control late on Saturday after burning for about a week.
SOURCE: Bangkok PostKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Potential catastrophe facing Thailand’s elephant camps
Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, along with many other camps in Thailand, have been forced to close their doors due to the current Coronavirus situation in Thailand. Apart from resulting in hardship for the elephants, it will seriously hurt Thailand’s tourism industry in the future if no support is forthcoming soon.
And whilst we’re hunkering down in our homes waiting for the virus crisis to pass, what becomes of the elephants?
Saengduean “Lek” Chailert, owner of Elephant Nature Park and founder of Save Elephant Foundation, believes many of the closures will be permanent.
“I have been to visit many of the camps and the situation is very serious.”
“The elephants have been chained up since the tourists stopped coming. They are very stressed and upset. Some have started to attack each other from being chained up all day and several have bite wounds as they are fighting over food. The pregnant elephants are also stressed and not doing well at all.”
What does that mean for the future?
“If there is no support forthcoming to keep them safe, the elephants will either starve to death or may be put onto the streets to beg. Alternatively, some may be sold to zoos and some may be returned to the logging business (which officially banned the use of elephants in 1989). It’s a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately.”
At Elephant Nature Park, which houses more than 3000 animals, many disabled or emotionally unstable, a frantic fund-raising effort is underway for food and medical needs. Some of the elephants need intensive, regular veterinary care.
Lek thanked donors on her Facebook page saying…
“I have been in touch with more than 30 elephant camp owners to help them find a way out. My ability to help these animals is an extension of your generosity, I cannot do it without your help. There is no amount too big or too small to impact the lives of these animals. 100% of each donation is tax deductible and goes directly to Elephant Nature Park. I will share these donations with elephants in other camps as appropriate.”
HOW TO DONATE
TRUNKS UP is a certified supporting organisation which is currently MATCHING all donations, dollar for dollar, up to US$45,000. Donations can be made via the site.
Where the money will go…
- US$30 will feed an elephant for a day
- US$20 will feed a dog or cat for one week
- US$10 will feed a pig, cow or buffalo for one week
- US$8 will feed a monkey for one week
- US$5 will feed a rabbit for one week
Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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