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“Kayaking for Chao Phraya” – anti river-dumping campaign

The Thaiger

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“Kayaking for Chao Phraya” – anti river-dumping campaign | The Thaiger
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by Kornrawee Panyasuppakun

The vice rector of Thammasat University, Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, will lead other kayakers on a 400 kilometre long “Kayaking for Chao Phraya” campaign to collect trash and urge people to stop dumping their garbage in the river.

The kayakers start their 14 day journey on December 10 from the point where Thailand’s major river flows. They will kayak through 10 provinces until they reach the Gulf of Thailand, according to Prinya.

The 10 provinces include Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Singburi, Angthong, Ayutthaya, Prathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Bangkok and Samut Prakarn.

Each day, the kayakers will spend several hours collecting trash in the river, sort them and sell them to a private recycling company before continuing on their journey.

Currently, about 40 kayaks and boats are part of the campaign. Prinya has invited people living along the river to join the fleet on the way to collect trash and to learn how to sort it correctly. Also, the kayakers and everyone joining the event would pledge to avoid single-use plastic, be it plastic bottles, bags, straws, forks or spoons and use ones that can be washed and reused, Prinya added.

“No matter how much we collect, we cannot collect everything. Our main goal is to draw the attention of Thai people so that they stop dumping wastes into the river,” said Prinya.

Prinya did not answer how much trash he expected to encounter, but said at a smaller but similar event organised by Thammasat University to collect trash in Bang Pakong River, they had collected about a tonne of litter within a few hours. Wastes they often came across in the river included plastic bottles, foam food containers, and a lot of plastic bags, which seemed to have been dumped into the klong (canal) and river when there was no trash bin nearby, he said.

Light bulbs and spray cans were found as well.Some of the kayakers are foreigners like James Tadra, a US national who has lived in Thailand for eight years, and Won Hong Park, a South Korean national, who is here on a vacation.

There are also several Thammasat students like Kotachon Natumploy and Kittayachon Natumploy. They said they were not professional kayakers, but were determined to complete the journey and persuade people to stop dumping their wastes in the river. Thailand is the world’s six-largest contributor of ocean waste. And plastic waste in the country continues to increase at 12 per cent a year.

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STORY: The Nation

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Bangkok

Khao San Road remains empty during the day, night crowds keep the street alive

Caitlin Ashworth

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Khao San Road remains empty during the day, night crowds keep the street alive | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

Without foreign tourists at Bangkok’s infamous backpacker mecca, Khao San Road has gone quiet. While nights draw local crowds, it’s not what it used to be and the once bustling street remains empty during the day time.

While locals frequent the nightclubs and bars on the street, Khao San Road is not nearly what is was like before the pandemic. The deserted street during the daytime is an ongoing problem, according to the head of Khao San trader’s association Sanga Reungwattanakun. He says before 5pm, the street is empty.

Before the pandemic, Khao San Road generated a revenue of 1 billion baht each year and 99% of the customers were foreigners, Sanga says. Visiting the street has been considered a “rite-of-passage” for foreign backpackers.

The area is known for being crazy with party hostels, cheap alcohol and balloons filled with laughing gas. It’s also known for its eclectic street food like scorpion on a stick. During the day (pre-pandemic), tourists would get massages, go shopping, get some food or grab a drink. (or 2.. or 3…)

Without the foreign tourists, many of the hotels on the street are closed and Sanga says some traders were just too slow to adjust to the new market conditions.

During the lockdown, Khao San Road had a facelift. More than 48 million baht was put into the area for major renovations like leveling out the road and footpaths, adding some gutters and designing space for emergency vehicles.

Since the road’s official reopening with a Halloween event in October, local officials have been trying to figure out ways to pump more life into the street. The campaign “Go to Khao San 2435” was recently launched to try to draw more people to the area. Nightly opening hours have been extended to 1am, but the daytime still remains a problem.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Protests

Thai Constitutional Court official files contempt charge against protest leader

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Constitutional Court official files contempt charge against protest leader | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

A student protest leader is facing charges of contempt after he made statements on Facebook critical of the Constitutional Court ruling to acquit PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing the Thai prime minister and former Army General to continue occupying a military-owned residence. Critics have argued that allowing Prayut, a retired general, to say at the Army residence is a conflict of interest.

Director of the Constitutional Court’s litigation office and police officer, Montri Daengsri, filed the charge against pro-democracy protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak. Montri says the Facebook posts made by Penguin were defamatory to the court and had tarnished its reputation.

In addition to the Facebook posts, Montri says the protest leader made an offensive speech following the court ruling at the Lat Phrao intersection in Bangkok. He says the speech was defamatory and violated Thailand’s Criminal Code. Police are investigating the claims to determine if charges should be pressed.

Prayut occupies a military reception house at the 1st Infantry Regiment residential area on Phahon Yothin in Bangkok, according to the Royal Thai Army. Tenants in army welfare houses have to pay for utility bills while those who live in the reception houses, like retirees, do not pay for household expenses and the utility bill is covered by the Army.

The Constitutional Court ruled this week that Prayut did not violate the Charter by occupying the residence. The court says under military regulations, former officers can remain at their Army residence after their retirement at the discretion of the Thai Army commander.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Schoolgirl bursts into tears meeting Panasaya, fearing for activist’s safety

Maya Taylor

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Schoolgirl bursts into tears meeting Panasaya, fearing for activist’s safety | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.prachachat.net

Protest leader Panusaya Sitthijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, has been pictured consoling a young schoolgirl who broke down in tears, concerned about the activist’s safety. Rattapol Kaiipah Promsuwan, who witnessed the exchange, has shared a photo of the moment on social media. She says the girl, who is in Grade 6 (making her around 11 years old), had gone to the organisers’ area during Wednesday’s rally at the Lat Phrao intersection in Bangkok. There, she asked to meet Panusaya, a hero of hers.

The girl’s sister says her sibling has an interest in politics and is concerned about reports that Panusaya faces lèse majesté charges. Thailand’s lèse majesté law prohibits insulting, defaming or threatening the nation’s revered Monarchy, and carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ imprisonment. During her meeting with Panusaya, the girl cried for half an hour, with the student activist trying to console her, and a Facebook photo showing her hugging the child.

Panusaya has received a new summons from the Technology Crime Suppression Division, as a result of a police complaint lodged by royalist supporter, Nitipong Honark, a music composer. She is now being summonsed on December 9, to hear additional charges of lèse majesté and violating the Computer Crimes Act .

Meanwhile, the BBC has named her in its list of the world’s 100 most influential and inspirational women of 2020.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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