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Thai government plans to issue guidelines for watching Bryde’s whales in Chonburi

Maya Taylor

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Thai government plans to issue guidelines for watching Bryde’s whales in Chonburi | The Thaiger
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The Director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources says guidelines are needed for Bryde’s whale watching after more than twenty tourists rode jet-skis on a whale-watching trip in Chonburi last week.

The Nation reports that Yutthaphon Ankinandana, who is an adviser to the Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment visited the area shortly after and said such activities had a negative impact on the marine animals and their environment.

It’s understood the Minister has requested an immediate solution and asked Yutthaphon and his team to monitor the Bryde’s whales population. Companies offering sightseeing tours will be invited to a meeting to discuss what regulations should be put in place, after which a report will be sent to the government.

The current guidelines stipulate that boats cannot go any faster than 4 knots in a radius of 100 to 300 metres from the coast. Boats in a radius of 400 metres cannot exceed 7 knots.

No more than 3 boats at a time can be near the whales and engines must be turned off if a whale approaches. Boats must remain at least 300 metres away from mothers and babies.

Aircraft used for whale watching cannot fly any lower than 300 metres, while helicopters must stay above 500 metres and drones above 50 metres. Jet skis and speed boats are not permitted due to the stress their engines can cause the whales and the fact that they may injure the marine creatures.

Sophon Thongdee, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, has provided coastguard and environment personnel to monitor the area and educate local tour providers, fishermen and tourists on how to observe the whales in a way that will not adversely affect them or their environment.

“All citizens and operators of Bryde’s whales watching businesses must comply with our recommendations. Everybody should keep an eye out for actions that might affect marine and coastal resources, especially in relation to endangered marine animals. If any action is found to seriously affect marine and coastal resources, notify the department immediately. If the action is considered a legal offence, strict legal measures will be taken against the wrongdoer.”

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Sumut Sakhon’s Central Prawn Market to reopen at the end of January

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Sumut Sakhon’s Central Prawn Market to reopen at the end of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Manager Online

Samut Sakhon Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of the latest wave of Covid-19, is ready to reopen by the end of January after a big clean up. The reopening is considered “important” to the province’s economy, according to the province’s deputy governor. It will also be a new beginning for the workers, mostly migrant workers, who have been so profoundly affected by the cluster.

The Market has been shut since December 20 after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were detected, following nearly 7 months of single digit daily infection reports.

The Samut Sakhon deputy governor says all infected persons from the market have been sent to the field hospital for treatment and 14 day quarantine and since been released after tests showed they are free of the virus. He added that 1,200 people living near the market will have to undergo another test although previously testing negative.

“This is to make sure that the market is completely free of the virus.”

The market manager also says that he urges vendors to follow the disease preventive measures strictly when the market opens back up again.

Samut Sakhon has 4,921 accumulative cases… 1,045 are Thais and 3,876 are migrant workers, mostly from Myanmar. Some 331 are currently in hospital. 1,332 are in quarantine. 3,257 have either been cured or have tested negative after quarantine. Only 1 death was reported.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Environment

Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires

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Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires | The Thaiger

Thailand is burning. The burning off of harvested crop plantations is lighting up the agricultural areas. The truth is starkly revealed in the live NASA satellite feeds which track the fires around the world.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

CHART: Fires in the past 10 days around parts of Thailand – Firms.Modaps

Concentrations of the current fires can be seen in Central Thailand, north of Bangkok, parts of Isaan, north east of Bangkok, and around Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Notably the concentration of fires in northern Cambodia and across the north-western border in Myanmar, is also causing plenty of problems as the foreign smoke drifts across the borders. No matter what Thai officials do to enforce the rice, sugar and corn plantation burn-offs, there is little they can do about the haze drifting across the borders.

Bangkok, so close to clusters of fires, is in for a bad air pollution day anytime the light winds of the start of the year blow from the north or the east. The lack of rain adds to the problem, the annual problem, that engulfs Thailand’s capital during days between December and April, with the worst month, statistically, being March.

The alternative method of preparing for the next harvest, mechanical removal of the refuse and waste after harvesting, is both unpopular in Thailand and economically unviable for the small farmers whose margins remain thin with the multi-national buyers of their produce pushing for lower and lower prices every year.

In Chiang Mai, from January to the end of March, the locals even call it the ‘burning season’. Coupled with the hot season, the farmers in northern Thailand burn their fields to prepare land for the next harvest and also to get rid of biowastes like corn that can’t be sold in the market. It’s officially illegal to do the burn offs but the lack of enforcement leaves the problem unresolved and the smog and haze remain as predictable as the annual wet season.

Chiang Mai also has a local geographic problem which exacerbates the bad smoke pollution. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, trapping in the smoke and helping block any breezes that could otherwise blow it away.

For today, Bangkok’s air pollution is better than the past two days but still registering as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ with city readings mostly between 140 – 170. Parts of the city, mostly south-east and south west, were registering readings above 300 in the past few days.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: IQair.com

Watch this video for some more information about Bangkok’s smog…

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Crime

Nonthaburi gamblers given jail sentences

Maya Taylor

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Nonthaburi gamblers given jail sentences | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod

Following a raid on an illegal gambling den in the central province of Nonthaburi, 41 people have been handed jail sentences at Nonthaburi Provincial Court. Somjit Hinkerd and Sorasak Janthamanee were convicted of running a gambling den in the Bang Bua Thong district and sentenced to 3 months and 15 days’ imprisonment. The other gamblers were sentenced to 15 days’ imprisonment, suspended for 1 year, and a 10,000 baht fine each.

The gamblers were all arrested during a raid on Thursday night, which caught them playing a card game known as Dragon-Tiger. Nation Thailand reports that the property is owned by Sorasak and it’s understood the gambling was organised by Somjit. The operation took the form of a “moving casino”, in that it would regularly change location to avoid being caught.

Illegal gambling dens are thought to have played a significant role in the resurgence of Covid-19 in Thailand. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has appealed for the public’s help in identifying such operations, saying the government needs citizens’ cooperation to shut them down.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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