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Central and north swelter with threats of summer storms

The Thaiger

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Central and north swelter with threats of summer storms | The Thaiger
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The mercury shot up to 40C in Bangkok yesterday and 35 other provinces in north and north-east Thailand also experienced hot to very hot weather amid brewing summer tropical storms.

The Thai Meteorological Department pointed to the hot low pressure cell covering upper Thailand and the southerly and southeasterly winds prevailing over the North, the Northeast, the Central, the East, and the South regions throughout this week.

Central and north swelter with threats of summer storms | News by The Thaiger

Bangkok’s forecast

They are warning residents to avoid outdoor activities and beware of gusty winds by staying away from big trees, unsecured buildings, and billboards is there are signs of thunderstorms brewing in the skies.

Today Bangkok will swelter in 37C temperatures with 38C in the next few days whilst the northern regions continue with more hot weather.

Chiang Mai will is forecast to reach 40C today as the unsettled and hot weather preempts the coming wet season… sometime soon.

Central and north swelter with threats of summer storms | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai’s forecast

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Bangkok

Police in Bangkok arrest 3 people for allegedly selling cannabis cookies

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Police in Bangkok arrest 3 people for allegedly selling cannabis cookies | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Tidhoo

Police in Bangkok arrested 3 people for allegedly making cannabis cookies and selling them through the messaging application LINE under a chat group called “The Hippy Cookie.” Police raided a condominium room in the Bang Na district and seized 13 “foreign types” of cannabis, 46 food products made with cannabis and 3 types of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Using the LINE messaging app, the suspects allegedly sold cannabis and cannabis food products. The suspects allegedly sent the cannabis to buyers using a food delivery service.

An investigator joined the chat group and posed as a buyer, ordering 5 grams of cannabis for 3,500 baht. When the cannabis was sent through the food delivery service, police asked the driver to return the package to the suspects. Police say a suspect came down to receive the returned package. Investigators then searched the suspect’s condominium room.

One of the female suspects allegedly told the police that she used to sell cookies (regular cookies), adding that she has an interest in cannabis. She then studied how to make cannabis cookies and contact cannabis suppliers in Thailand before starting the illegal business with her boyfriend and a friend. She allegedly told police she started the business a year ago and has more than 100 regular customers.

The suspects were charged with illegally processing and distributing narcotic drugs. Parts of the cannabis plant with high amounts of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, such as the buds, are still classified in Thailand as a Category 5 narcotic.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Air Pollution

Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste

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Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | The Thaiger

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons.

Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes. Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks.

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, has been posing a health risk for the past several days”.

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced.

Thai farmers conduct the burn-off activities to reduce the amount of leftover materials – biowaste – like stalk tops, leaves and refuse left after the harvesting. Rice farmers also routinely burn rice stubble – the residual plant waste to prepare fields for the next season of crops.

Around 70-75% of Thailand’s sugar production is sent overseas and the country ranks second in exports just behind Brazil. It’s a big industry. The government also introduced a quota, distribution and price support system between growers and millers which has helped to artificially keep a ceiling on the export prices. Most of Thailand’s sugarcane plantations are in the Central and Northeast regions, some of them, evidenced by the fire maps, are less than 100 kilometres north of the capital.

But the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravut Silpaarcha is resorting to the old government narrative, repeating that officials at the Pollution Control Department will have to coordinate with the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to “intensify efforts to reduce emissions of PM2.5 dust from vehicles and factories”.

He’s also suggested that companies should allow employees to work from home to reduce the amount of vehicles on the city’s roads.

The Pollution Control Department is now estimating that the biomass burn-off contribution to the PM2.5 levels could vary between 24 – 38%, with the majority of it coming from sugarcane and rice burning. Most of the concentrations of agri-burning is around Northern Thailand and in the farmlands north of Bangkok. These areas also suffer considerably from the direct effects of the smoke. Fire maps also indicate that an even worse problem exists in northern Cambodia and north-west Myanmar where the burning carries on un-abated.

Stop the burn - Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHICS: firms2.modaps

The Thaiger has waged a long campaign to provide fire maps and air-pollution readings over the past 3 years as evidence of the contribution of the agri-burning to Bangkok’s annual smog problem. But officials have kept beating the same drum, blaming factories, vehicle traffic and old diesel buses (which certainly need to be regulated as well but are not the main cause of the December to April haze and smog).

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

State Railway of Thailand furloughs 57 locals trains from Tuesday

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State Railway of Thailand furloughs 57 locals trains from Tuesday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Baolau

Thailand State Railway governor says that cancellations will affect 13 local services on the northern line, 18 on the northeastern routes, 12 in the southern region and 14 eastern trains.

“Most of the cancelled trains will start at Hua Lamphong station, including trains that are popular with tourists, including services to Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin.”

Niruj Maneepun says the move is to support the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s effort to curb the virus’ spread by maintaining travel restrictions.

“Already all sightseeing and most long-haul trains have been temporarily cancelled due to Covid-19.”

Thailand has logged 13,500 confirmed infections and 73 deaths since the start of the pandemic in January 2020. The current outbreak that began on December 20, with the epicentre centred around seafood markets in coastal Samut Sakhon, has spread to 63 Thai provinces.

Recently, Bangkok has allowed the reopening of 13 types of businesses as long as they follow strict guidelines surrounding safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Businesses allowed to reopen under these measures…

  • Banquet venues, which will need authorisation from BMA for events with over 300 participants
  • Beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops
  • Fitness centers, but personal trainers and communal steam rooms are not allowed
  • Game Arcades; but all points of contact must be regularly disinfected and facemasks worn at all times.
  • Internet cafés
  • Senior nursing homes, but with limited activities
  • Sports venues, except for boxing rings and race tracks, but no audiences allowed
  • Spas, Thai massage shops, excluding massage parlours
  • Gymnasia and boxing venues for training only
  • Bowling alleys and ice skating rinks, but no competitions or audiences allowed
  • Dancing academies
  • Martial art schools, but no tournaments or audiences allowed
  • Amulet shops and markets

Other provinces in Thailand, such as Chonburi, are waiting for the green light to reopen businesses and travel. Chonburi has reported 0 cases of Covid for 3 days in a row, prompting locals to become frustrated with the strict measures that won’t ease up until at least the end of the month.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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