living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Northern Thailand – It’s Back!

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Via: City News – Chiang Mai

On 14th March, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior reported weather conditions on 13th March at 9 a.m. were far from salubrious (salubrious – not a word you hear everyday, but hey) for Chiang Mai residents.

The volume of particles in the air in Chiang Mai was recorded at 65 micrograms per cubic metre at Chiang Mai Provincial Office, 82 micrograms per cubic metre at Yupparaj Wittayalai School, and 22 micrograms per cubic metre at Bhubhing Palace.

Other recording in tnorthern Thailand read: 128 micrograms per cubic metre at Lampang Meteorological Office, 128 micrograms per cubic metre at Mae Hong Son Natural Resources and Environment Office and 144 micrograms per cubic metre at Phrae Meteorological Office.

14 districts are also said to be suffering from drought, these include: Om Koi, Chom Thong, Mae Jam, Sanpatong, Hot, Galyani Vadhana, Chai Prakarn, Sankamphang, Hangdong, Doi Lo, Mae On, Mae Rim and Wiang Hang.

The GOOD NEWS IS that the Meteorological Department stated that high pressure from China was approching the northeast of Thailand, resulting in isolated rains over northeastern Thailand and eastern Thailand, reaching Chiang Mai and Central Thailand 15th or 16th March.

Note: It’s a real bitch to start a fire in the rain!

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http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=1533

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March 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Organic Fertiliser Project to Reduce Smog Problem

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

In the hope of reducing the awful smog Chiang Mai sees every year some efforts are being made to stop people burning and start making their own fertiliser.

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On 14th September, M.L. Panadda Diskul, the governor of Chiang Mai. along with Nantapon Pongsathornwisut, the mayor of Sannameng sub-district, opened the organic fertilizer project at Sannameng Agricultural Technology Service Centre. The opening was hosted by Sansai Agricultural Department and Maejo University.

The governor said that the cause of the smog problem was mainly from the burning of agricultural materials. This project hoped to instill in people the importance of making fertiliser.

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=826

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personal thought:

If this works, and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t, I think it will be a big help.

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However, they need to stop the ‘slash and burn’ of the forests.

Not only are they being cleared for the timber, but they are using the cleared land to plant corn, for ethanol.

Without the forests, the flooding will only grow worse!

IDIOTS!

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Q: When is the smokey season in the North?

A: Approximately mid-February to mid-April.

If you have ANY pulminary problems such as emphysema or asthma, I suggest you avoid the North durung this period.

And the other ten months?

PRICELESS!

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=826

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September 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Thailand – Doctor says Thailand should match WHO’s pollution standard

Via: Bangkok Post

A doctor providing medical care to haze-affected patients in the North has called for an adjustment to the pollution safety standard.

Dr Chaicharn Pothirat, chief of pulmonary, critical care and allergies at Chiang Mai University’s faculty of medicine, said the current maximum safety level of 120 microgrammes per cubic meter per day for particles less than 10 microns is far higher than that set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In 2005, the WHO set the maximum safety figure at 50 ug per cu/m per day, but it has not been adopted in Thailand.

Dr Chaicharn said prolonged exposure to the hydrocarbons present in haze increases the risk of cancer and damage to the respiratory system.

Dr Chaicharn said doctors in the North had in recent years noticed an increase in non-smokers with lung cancer.

Medical research conducted between 2008 and 2010, based on emergency visits by doctors from the faculty, found incidences of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and long-term lung disease increased in parallel to every 10 ug per cu/m rise.

”With haze, we tend to discuss just the damage to tourism, scenery, visibility, and sore eyes and noses,” said Dr Chaicharn. ”Those impacts are small when compared with the long-term health risks. How many people in the North will die of cancer because of it?”

Dr Chaicharn called on officials to adjust the standard to more accurately reflect the problem. ”We first have to admit the fact that we have a problem, a serious problem,” he said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/287932/doctor-says-thailand-should-match-who-pollution-standard

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personal thought:

I believe the two leading Englisgh language papers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation, should post BOTH the Thai ’50 microgrammes per cubic meter per day’,  AND the WHO/US/ EU ‘120 microgrammes per cubic meter per day’ in EVERY article/editorial.

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April 8, 2012 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper, climate, The Nation newspaper | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Haze problem has improved (bull-sh*t!)

Via: Pattaya Daily News

Chiang Mai Mayor Tatsanai Puranupakorn has ordered his subordinates to spray water in the air, forbid vehicles emitting black smoke to be driven on streets, and apply many other methods to reduce the smoke haze problem. The province has been under smoky air for a couple of days. (how about three-weeks. with another seven-eight weeks to go!

With these measures imposed, small dust particles have been reduced. (SEE PHOTO)

The Mayor said Chiang Mai is a valley; therefore, if there is thick haze, it will be very difficult to solve the problem.

Meanwhile, Lampoon province, which has been experiencing smoke problem for a week, has also begun to see a reduction in the dust particles as well. The provincial governor has ordered authorities to strictly prohibit people from burning crops or pollute the air in every way.

Note: EVERY YEAR we hear this bull-sh*t: UNTIL the rains start (mid to late April).

Why then?

Because it’s a real bitch to start a fire in the rain.

http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2012/02/21/haze-problem-in-chiang-mai-improved/

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February 23, 2012 Posted by | climate | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand – Air unsafe in five northern provinces

Via: The Nation

The particles referred to by the department are PM10 (particulate matter 10 micrometres) or smaller.

Lampang had the highest reading, at 235.3 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Safe levels of PM10 particles are considered to be 120 micrograms per cubic metre or less.

NOTE: Both the US and the EU consider has set the number at 50, NOT 120! But then again, the US and the EU haven’t had nearly as many Noble laureates as Thailand. (yeah, right)

The four other provinces with seriously high levels of particles were Phrae (218.08 micrograms), Lamphun (192.1 micrograms), Phayao (123.5 micrograms) and Chiang Rai (123.5 micrograms).

“The excessive level of these small dust particles can affect the health of locals,” Chukiat Pongsiriwan said yesterday in his capacity as head of Phrae’s Natural Resources and Environment Office.

The PCD measured levels of small dust particles in the North yesterday as part of its airquality monitoring operations. To tackle the problem, the PCD called on authorities to prevent people from burning garbage, agricultural scraps and dry leaves.

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit said smoke from the fires could hurt locals’ health. “It affects the heart, blood vessels, respiratory systems, skin and eyes,” he said.

People in smokefilled areas should wear masks to cover their mouth and nose, Paijit said. “If you experience eye irritation or tightness in the chest, please seek medical help.”

NOTE: Most of the masks sold in Thailand are NOT SUFFICIENT to keep out the PM10, but hey you look cool!

Lamphun Governor Surachai Khanarsa said he had declared 287 villages as forestfire control zones to prevent the fires from worsening air quality.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai public health chief Dr Wattana Kanjanakamon said large amounts of smoke in the air in his province had caused the number of patients to increase by 10 per cent this month.

“We have seen a higher incidence of respiratory problems,” he said.

Although the amount of small dust particles was within safe limits in Chiang Mai, the threat was increasing, according to governor ML Panadda Disakul.

“We have prepared necessary measures. If the dust particles reach a critical level, we will ask the Agriculture Ministry to make artificial rain,” Panadda said.

Note: They can  do what they did a couple of years ago, and ban Korean barbeques; and yes, I’m serious.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Air-unsafe-in-five-northern-provinces-30176124.html

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photo:

Several times a year, airports have to turn on their ‘landing lights’ during daylight hours; and somewhat rare, their have been flight cancellations.

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personal thought:

If you have any sort of health condition, such as emphysema or asthma, I STRONGLY SUGGEST you AVOID Nothern Thailand between 15-Feb and 15-Apr.

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February 18, 2012 Posted by | climate | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thai customs seizes thousands of endangered animals

Via: Pattaya Daily News

Nearly 2,000 monitor lizards, hundreds of turtles and 20 snakes were among a huge haul of live endangered animals found hidden in a truck by Thai authorities, a wildlife group said Wednesday.

The vehicle is believed to have been on its way across Thailand to Laos when it was intercepted by customs officers at a checkpoint in Pranburi, central Thailand, on Tuesday evening, Freeland Foundation said.

The creatures, valued at $132,000 on the black market, were being transported on a well known route, the wildlife group said, adding that it was the second seizure at the checkpoint this year.

“These seizures highlight the urgent need for regional cooperation to stop the criminal gangs behind the transport of wildlife along this route,” a statement from the wildlife counter-trafficking organisation said.

In total, officers found 1,940 monitor lizards, 717 turtles, 44 civets — a small mammal — 15 cobras, five pythons, and a partridge in a pear tree.

http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2011/09/15/thai-customs-seizes-thousands-of-endangered-animals/

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September 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘horny’ Thai hookers ‘paid to smuggle S.African rhino horns

Via: AFP

A Thai man hired prostitutes to smuggle poached rhino horns disguised as legal hunting trophies from South Africa to supply the Asian black market, media said Friday.

Chumlong Lemtongthai, 43, who was arrested last week outside Johannesburg, was part of a syndicate alleged to have sold at least 40 rhino horns, the weekly Mail & Guardian and the daily Beeld reported.

The revelation came from a South African manager for Thai Airways, John Oliviers, who worked with Chumlong but then turned whistle-blower and informed the police, the papers said.

Olivier told police that Marnus Steyl, a South African wildlife trader, bought rhinos from auctions and private owners and took them to his farms where the animals were killed soon after their arrival, the paper said.

“Once the rhinos were established on Steyl’s farm, he would call Lemtongthai and tell him how many animals were in place for a ‘hunt’,” read Olivier’s statement, according to the Mail & Guardian.

South Africa allows a limited number of legal rhino hunts, but each person is allowed only one kill per year.

Friends, strippers and prostitutes were paid 5,000 rands ($740, 514 euros) to pose as hunters and export the horns, the papers said.

Each horn was taken to a taxidermist, who mounted it on a shield to look like a hunting trophy.

“The trophy is just a cover for getting the horn out of South Africa and into Asia. Once in Asia, it obviously would enter the black market as rhino horn for ‘medicinal purposes’. The person allegedly ‘hunting’ the rhino would never seethe animal or its horn again,” Olivier’s statement reportedly said.

Chumlong paid 65,000 rands a kilo for the horns and sold them for $55,000 (380,000 rands) a kilo, the papers said.

With the average horn weighing five kilos, he made more than $8.9 million in profit on the 40 rhinos shot to date, they said.

South African national parks officials say rhino poaching has risen from 13 cases in 2007 to a record 333 last year and 222 so far this year.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gqZtixBJcP9mgdiXvIOOOZ4tH0eQ?docId=CNG.9917d443fadc07586017a75a3b0a0fee.3f1

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FACT CHECK:

1. 5,000 Rand isn’t 740,514 Euros, it’s 514 Euros; but hey, close.

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2. ‘Friend, strippers and prositutes’ is obviously FALSE, since prostitution is illegal in Thailand.

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3. The horny part – maybe yes, maybe no

 

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PHOTO:

‘The female rhino survived for 35 hours after being shot twice and having her horn sawn off at Kazrianga National Park in India.’

http://weblog.sinteur.com/index.php/2008/02/01/rhino/

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July 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WHOA! – around 200 Bangkokians join in car-free day activities!

Via: MCOT

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra led a group of environmentally-conscious bicyclists on car-free day on Sunday to encourage Bangkok residents to ride bikes and reduce pollution in the capital.

More than 200 people joined the first “Bangkok Car Free Sunday” presided over by the Bangkok governor at Lumpini Park.

The group later travelled by bike from Wireless Road to Ploenchit, Rajadamri, Silom and Sathorn roads.

The activity was jointly organised by Bangkok City Hall, the Cycling Network and the Green World Foundation with an aim to promoting pollution-free transportation.

Participants in these activities rode their bicycles to visit historic places and learn about the future of green areas as well as big trees along the way.

The Bangkok governor said more Bangkok residents should use bicycles instead of cars on Sunday for energy savings and environmental conservation.

The activities will be held on the first Sunday of every month.

He said now there are 28 bike routes, totalling 20 kilometres in length, which is deemed not enough. There are many limitations, particularly in inner Bangkok, where safety of cyclists is a concern due to heavy traffic, and motorists are not accustomed to having cyclists on the road.

http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/235922.html

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January, 2008

The Bangkok Metropolitan Region covers an area of 7,761.50 km² and has an estimated population of 11,971,000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok_Metropolitan_Region

200/11,971,000 = .0017%

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personal thought:

I would be willing to bet some big baht, that some/many(?)  of the 200 participants loaded their bikes in the back of their 4WD SUV’s.

hopeless, totally hopeless

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July 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mekong River – Xayaburi dam

Via: Bangkok Post

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“Wait be Damned”

Construction work around a controversial dam in Laos which is expected to provide cheap energy to Thailand is well underway despite the project not yet receiving official approval.

An investigation by the Bangkok Post Sunday which visited the area surrounding the Xayaburi dam on the Lower Mekong River last week found major road works under construction and villagers preparing to be relocated.

Several of the villagers said they were to receive as little as US$15 (450 baht) in compensation for moving from the area.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/232239/xayaburi-dam-work-begins-on-sly

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Via: Than Nien News

With less than a week to go before the Mekong River Commission’s Joint Committee makes a decision on a major hydropower dam on the river, environmentalists highlighted its infeasibility and called for its cancellation.

If built, the dam could perpetrate an ecological catastrophe, they said.

“Disruptions to fish migration and food supplies for MILLIONS in the Mekong basin are likely if the first mainstream dam on the lower Mekong is allowed to go ahead,” the WWF, one of the world’s largest independent conservation organizations, said in a statement released Thursday (April 14).

Expert analysis showed that the feasibility study and environmental impact assessment prepared for the Xayaburi hydropower dam in Laos failed to address key environmental risks, the WWF said.

The US$3.5 billion dam, to be built in northern Laos, would generate power mostly for sale to Thailand.

http://www.thanhniennews.com/2010/Pages/20110415182802.aspx

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Bangkok Post newspaper | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – vending water not up to standards: Health Dept

Only 70 per cent of bottled water and drinking water from vending machines has passed quality standards set by the Department of Health, directorgeneral Dr Somyos Deerasamee said yesterday.

“The problem lies with contamination. Contaminants include heavy metals and bacteria,” he said.

Contaminated water causes various diseases including diarrhoea and typhoid, he said.

Only 40 per cent of water from waterutility services, artesian wells, rain and shallow wells passed the department’s quality requirements, he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/Vending-water-not-up-to-standards-Health-Dept-30151656.html

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I know Thailand is  a developing country, but perhaps the Health Department isn’t up to ‘standards’.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | The Nation newspaper, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment