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#Thailand’s most important airports are going smoke-free


Goodbye smoking lounges
Smoking is no longer allowed inside the passenger buildings at six of Thailand’s main airports.

As of Sun, Feb 3, Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang airports, all operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), have been declared no-smoking zones with fines of up to B5,000 (around US$160) for any violators.

The move is in accordance with the 2017 Tobacco Control Act and a
2018 Public Health Ministry announcement requiring all offices of
government agencies and state enterprises, which includes airports, to
assign no-smoking areas.
According to Bangkok Post, the AoT has instructed staff at the six airports to arrange smoking areas outside the passenger buildings
traffic at Bangkok’s two airports, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, both
affected by the change, exceeded 100 million in 2018.
Source – Thaiger

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#Thailand – Hua Hin to crack down on massage shops for blocking beach

Hua Hin Beach on 5-2

The Hua Hin municipality vowed on Tuesday to investigate and crack down on beach massage operators for encroaching on and blocking the popular beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Jirawat Prammanee, clerk of the municipality, said he ordered municipal officials to check on the operators after seeing posts from a Hua Hin resident showing the beach obstructed by massage beds.

Jirawat said the spot could be at Soi Hua Hin 77. He said if officials found the beach obstructed, they would order the owners to immediately clear the way.

Jirawat gave the order after a Hua Hin resident, whose Facebook account is Juckrit Chotphom, posted a photo in several Hua Hin Facebook groups.

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The photo showed a worker of Meow Massage shop lining up massage beds in a formation that completely blocked the beach, leaving only the underwater portion open for tourists to walk past.

The photo also captured another massage shop that had done the same.

Juckrit said he took the photo at about 8am on Monday. He said he filed a complaint with the local office of the Internal Security Operations Command.

Source – TheNation

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#Thailand – Conservation plan for hornbills

THE NATIONAL Parks, Wildlife, and Plant
Conservation Department announced yesterday that it would develop a
national plan for the management and conservation of hornbills.


 This plan would be in line with an
international action plan introduced yesterday for the critically
endangered helmeted hornbill.


A working group will be set up to develop the national plan, Pinsak Suraswadi, the department’s deputy director-general, said.

He said Thailand is committed to protecting the majestic bird’s habitat
as well as reducing trafficking and trade of the bright-billed bird. The
future plan will also focus on reintroduction programmes so hornbill
populations can be restored in natural habitats.

 The country also recognises the importance of research and training
while engaging all sectors, he said, and thus the Centre for Research
and Training of Hornbill Conservation will be created.
Pinsak also praised the international plan and lauded Thailand’s
decision to adopt it, which marks a watershed in efforts to preserve the
“We are very pleased to support hornbill conservation in the region,” he
said at a press conference. “Today will be a great starting point for
moving forward together to save our species.”
After the conference, a group of bird experts, including members of the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, got together to
discuss the plan. 


 Found in regions ranging from Africa to Asia, the birds are facing
increasing threats of extinction despite their critical ecological
Helmeted hornbills, with specific home ranges in the forests of Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, are of a critical concern to
ecologists as demands for the bright yellow and black casques atop their
bills have surged in recent years, particularly in China for carved
This is despite the fact that the species has been placed under the
protection of the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which has banned
all kinds of trade since 1975.
In 2015, global bird experts came together to address the situation at
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), prompting the species to be up-listed
from “near threatened” to “critically endangered” by BirdLife
 A Helmeted Hornbill Working Group (HHWG) was also created under the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
A year later, a resolution calling for an action plan for helmeted
hornbill conservation was issued at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
and the CITES CoP17, backed by members of the HHWG, while urging all
CITES parties to take necessary steps to develop and implement the
action plan.
This 10-year, wide-ranging conservation strategy calls for international
collaboration and an increase in financial resources to scale up
conservation attention aimed at targeted population recovery across the
species’ range.
A key priority is the need to eliminate trafficking and trade in
helmeted hornbills and derivatives by ensuring that the CITES Appendix I
listing for the species is effectively implemented.
 Anuj Jain from BirdLife International (Asia) and a coordinator of the
HHWG, said: “Unless we protect key population strongholds and reduce
international demand, we stand little chance to save the helmeted
Thailand is an important country for the species, with high levels of
protection. Most long-term research on the species has been by the
Hornbill Research Foundation.
Source – TheNation


Thailand – Wastewater poisoning #Phuket canal

Residents near Mudong canal in Wichit,
Phuket, are calling for officials to stop wastewater flowing into the
canal and out to sea. Dead animals have been found floating on the


Yesterday (August 22) officials from the Environment Office Region 15 Phuket and others inspected the Mudong canal.
Residents said the water is black and has a bad smell all along the
canal. Dead shrimps, crabs and fish have been found floating on it.
The environment office’s Kanchit Sunthornkarn said: “At this stage we
have found that wastewater is coming from sewage produced by the
community. There are housing estates, restaurants and houses. 
“We have to control the wastewater problem from the original sources.
The law must be enforced by officers. We still don’t have the technology
to solve wastewater in the canal once it has made its way into the
canal system. If we add more microorganisms, it will be worse.
 “For a short-term solution, we have to use natural treatment because the
black water in the canal is caused by the drains. For a longer-term
solution, we have to find the original sources. Wastewater has to be
treated before being released into the canal.”
Source – TheNation 


On Thai Island #Phuket, hotel guests check out of plastic waste


For the millions of sun seekers who head to
Thailand’s resort island of Phuket each year in search of stunning beaches and clear waters, cutting down on waste may not be a top priority.


But the island’s hotel association is
hoping to change that with a series of initiatives aimed at reducing the
use of plastic, tackling the garbage that washes up on its shores, and
educating staff, local communities and tourists alike.
“Hotels unchecked are huge consumers and users of single-use
said Anthony Lark, president of the Phuket Hotels Association
and managing director of the Trisara resort.
“Every resort in Southeast Asia has a plastic problem. Until we all
make a change, it’s going to get worse and worse,”
he told the Thomson
Reuters Foundation.
Established in 2016 and with about 70 members – including all
Phuket’s five-star hotels – the association has put tackling
environmental issues high on its to-do list.
Last year the group surveyed members’ plastics use and then began looking at ways to shrink their plastics footprint.
As part of this, three months ago the association’s hotels committed
to phase out, or put plans in place to stop using plastic water bottles
and plastic drinking straws by 2019.
About five years ago, Lark’s own resort with about 40 villas used to
dump into landfill about 250,000 plastic water bottles annually. It has
now switched to reusable glass bottles.
The hotel association also teamed up with the documentary makers of
“A Plastic Ocean”, and now show an edited version with Thai subtitles
for staff training.
Meanwhile hotel employees and local school children take part in regular beach clean-ups.
“The association is involved in good and inclusive community-based
action, rather than just hotel general managers getting together for a
Lark said.
Phuket, like Bali in Indonesia and Boracay in the Philippines, has
become a top holiday destination in Southeast Asia – and faces similar
Of a similar size to Singapore and at the geographical heart of
Southeast Asia, Phuket is easily accessible to tourists from China,
India, Malaysia and Australia.
With its white sandy beaches and infamous nightlife, Phuket attracts
about 10 million visitors each year, media reports say, helping make the
Thai tourism industry one of the few bright spots in an otherwise
lacklustre economy.
Popular with holiday makers and retirees, Phuket – like many other
Southeast Asian resorts – must contend with traffic congestion, poor
water management and patchy waste collection services.
Despite these persistent problems, hotels in the region need to
follow Phuket’s lead and step up action to cut their dependence on
plastics, said Susan Ruffo, a managing director at the U.S.-based
non-profit group Ocean Conservancy.
Worldwide, between 8 million and 15 million tonnes of plastic are
dumped in the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the
human food chain, UN Environment says.
Five Asian countries – China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and
Thailand – account for up to 60 percent of plastic waste leaking into
the seas, an Ocean Conservancy study found.
“As both creators and ‘victims’ of waste, the hotel industry has a
lot to gain by making efforts to control their own waste and helping
their guests do the same,”
Ruffo said.
“We are seeing more and more resorts and chains start to take action,
but there is a lot more to be done, particularly in the area of
ensuring that hotel waste is properly collected and recycled,”
Data on how much plastic is used by hotels and the hospitality
industry is hard to find. But packaging accounts for up to 40 percent of
an establishment’s waste stream, according to a 2011 study by The
Travel Foundation, a UK-based charity.
Water bottles, shampoo bottles, toothbrushes and even food delivered by room service all tend to use throw-away plastics.
In the past, the hospitality industry has looked at how to use less
water and energy, said Von Hernandez, global coordinator at the “Break
Free From Plastic”
movement in Manila.
Now hotels are turning their attention to single-use plastics amid growing public awareness about damage to oceans.
“A lot of hotels are doing good work around plastics”, adopting measures to eliminate or shrink their footprint, said Hernandez.
But hotels in Southeast Asia often have to contend with poor waste management and crumbling infrastructure.
“I’ve seen resorts in Bali that pay staff to rake the beach every
morning to get rid of plastic, but then they either dig a hole, and bury
it or burn it on the beach,”
said Ruffo. “Those are not effective
solutions, and can lead to other issues.”
Hotels should look at providing reusable water containers and refill
stations, giving guests metal or bamboo drinking straws and bamboo
toothbrushes, and replacing single-use soap and shampoo containers with
refillable dispensers, experts said.
“Over time, this could actually lower their operational costs – it
could give them savings,”
said Hernandez. “It could help change mindsets
of people, so that when they go back to their usual lives, they have a
little bit of education.”
Back in Phuket, the hotel association is exploring ways to cut
plastic waste further, and will host its first regional forum on
environmental awareness next month.
The hope is that what the group has learned over the last two years
can be implemented at other Southeast Asian resorts and across the wider
“If the 20,000 staff in our hotels go home and educate mum and dad
about recycling or reusing, it’s going to make a big difference,”
Source – TheNation