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Upcycling the Oceans – sustainable solutions for Thailand’s ocean plastic

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo from Marca España

Thailand says it will be the first Asian country to join a global initiative to clean up its oceans and waterways around Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Phuket.

Lonely Planet reports that Upcycling the Oceans is an effort spearheaded by the Ecoalf Foundation. The projects gets local fishermen removing plastic from the waters. Once collected, the plastic is recycled into thread. This thread is then woven into environmentally-friendly fabric which the Ecoalf Foundation then turns into clothes and accessories.

The Lonely Planet report says that the three-year project kicked off at Ko Samet, Bangkok’s weekend holiday island just 200 Km south of the capital. Fishermen and divers explored the water off the sandy beaches collecting 700 kilograms of plastic debris – including bottles and fishing nets – in just five hours. The north end of the Gulf of Thailand is one of the most polluted stretches of water in the country, spoiling the beaches for the island’s and beach resorts across the top of the Gulf.

In the second year of the project, rubbish collected will be transformed into reusable materials by local companies. Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand is praising the initial efforts.

“The project reaffirms the TAT’s commitment to promoting responsible tourism and its leadership role in driving green initiatives”, he said in a statement. “The project will also help ensure Ko Samet remains pristine, by providing the necessary infrastructure for trash collection, including special trash containers on the island.”

Ecoalf estimates that eight million tonnes of trash ends up in the world’s oceans every single year, with 60% of it originating from Asian countries. The foundation hopes that the Thai experiment to Upcycling the Oceans will spread to other Asian countries.

Full report from Lonely Planet.

Read more about Ecoalf Foundation.

- Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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National

Thailand’s Rabies death toll up to 14 this year

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The death of a 19 year old in Buri Ram, to the east of Bangkok on the Cambodian border,  and a 55 year old in Rayong, east of Pattaya, has raised the death toll in Thailand as a result of Rabies this year to 14. Both deaths occurred over the past two weeks.

Dr Suwannachai Watanayingcharoen, director general of the Disease Control Department, says a 19 year old man in Buri Ram, who’d been bitten back in April on the shoulder and chest by a dog, was not vaccinated against rabies.

The same situation with a 55-year-old woman in Rayong, bitten by a stray dog in January, who opted for “magical” treatment from a practitioner of traditional folk medicine rather than go to hospital.

Suwannachai says the two people had died of rabies this year in Buri Ram, two in Rayong and one each in Surin, Songkhla, Trang, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phatthalung, Nong Khai, Yasothon, Kalasin and Mukdahan.

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National

Same-sex civil union bill ready for Cabinet in two months

The Thaiger & The Nation

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A same-sex civil partnership law should be drafted and discussed before next year’s elections.

Pitikarn Sitthidech, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department chief, saystThe law, allowing same-sex couples to formally register as life partners, should be drafted by September.

It would then be submitted to Deputy PM and Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong, who would decide whether it should go to the Cabinet, she said.

Pitikarn says the sub-panel drafting the legislation that’s been hailed by some as a progressive step towards the legalisation of gay marriage would meet on July 25 to review its 63 articles. Panel members were likely to make adjustments, she said, some based on the experiences of other countries that have adopted similar legislation, such as Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Britain.


Pitikarn Sitthidech – Rights and Liberties Protection Department chief 

The bill will then be forwarded to the Rights Department’s law development committee for further tweaking in September, and then to Prajin, Pitikarn said. She pointed out that the process in some countries had taken up to 10 years, but Prajin wanted to fast-track Thailand’s version because of the many LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual) citizens who deserve the same rights as everyone else.

Pitikarn said Prajin had insisted that the authors of the legislation understand the situation in society well and the sensitivities involved. He wanted guidelines set out to support the status of same-sex life partners registered in other countries who were now living in Thailand to ensure they enjoyed the rights to which they were entitled.

Prajin wanted it made clear which agency would handle registrations once the law comes into effect. And he expects the law to lay the foundation for the legalisation of gay marriage.

“Since the ministry began moving forward on this law, we have received good feedback from the LGBT community and a 60,000-name petition expressing support for the action, as well as much useful information,” Pitikarn said.

“I believe many more people are passively supporting this law – the many who haven’t yet expressed their LGBT status.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thaiger Radio News – Monday

Tanutam Thawan

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Listen to the daily news from The Thaiger, anytime, anywhere.

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