Tag Archives: thailand

Thailand’s massive floating solar farm lays the foundation for its emission-free future

The Kingdom of Thailand wants to seal its commitment to green energy with its new hybrid solar-hydropower generation facility that covers a water reservoir in the northeast of the country.

The installation covers an immense 720,000 square meters of the reservoir’s surface and produces clean electricity around the clock: solar power during the day, hydropower at night. Christened the Sirindhorn dam farm, this is the “world’s largest floating hydro-solar farm”, and the first of 15 such farms planned to be built by Thailand by 2037. They are a linchpin in the kingdom’s pledge for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Floating towards the future

“We can claim that through 45 megawatts combined with hydropower and energy management system for solar and hydro powers, this is the first and biggest project in the world,” Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) deputy governor Prasertsak Cherngchawano told AFP.

At the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) last year, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha officially announced his country’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, and a net-zero greenhouse emissions target by 2065. Thailand also aims to produce 30% of its energy from renewables by 2037 as an interim goal.

The Sirindhorn dam farm project, which went into operation last October, is the cornerstone of that pledge. The farm contains over 144,000 solar cells and can output 45 MW of electricity. This is enough to reduce Thailand’s carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 47,000 tons per year.

Thailand’s energy grids continue to rely heavily on fossil fuel; some 55% of the country’s power generation as of October last year was derived from such fuels, while only 11% came from renewable sources such as solar or hydropower, according to Thailand’s Energy Policy and Planning Office, a department of the ministry of energy. Still, projects such as Sirindhorn show that progress is being made.

The $35 million project took two years to build, with repeated delays caused by the pandemic, which saw technicians falling sick and deliveries of solar panels being repeatedly delayed. EGAT plans to install floating hydro-solar farms in 15 more dams across Thailand by 2037, which would total an estimated 2,725 MW of power.

Currently, power generated at Sirindhorn is being distributed mainly to domestic and commercial users in the lower northeastern region of the country.

Thailand is also betting that its floating solar farms will be of interest to tourists, as well. Sirindhorn comes with a 415-meter (1,360-foot) long “Nature Walkway” which will give a breathtaking view of the reservoir and the solar cells floating across its surface. Locals are already flocking to see the solar farm, and time will tell if international travelers will be drawn here as well.

Local communities report that with the solar floats installed, catches of fish in the reservoir have decreased — but they seem to be positive about it. State authorities say that the project will not affect agriculture, fishing, or other community activities in the long term, and are committed to taking any steps necessary towards this goal.

“The number of fish caught has reduced, so we have less income,” village headman Thongphon Mobmai, 64, told AFP. “But locals have to accept this mandate for community development envisioned by the state.”

“We’ve used only 0.2 to 0.3 percent of the dam’s surface area. People can make use of lands for agriculture, residency, and other purposes,” said EGAT’s Prasertsak.

Coronavirus in Thailand — live updates, cases, and news

Coronavirus cases and fatalities in Thailand

The number is based on confirmed diagnostic tests. It is very likely that the true number of COVID-19 cases is higher as many cases are asymptomatic.

New COVID-19 cases and fatalities per day in Thailand

This is a good indicator of “flattening the curve” — when there is a steady decreasing trend, it is an indicator that the spread of the disease is slowing down.

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If you’d like to use these graphs and maps on your site or articles, please e-mail us.

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS COVID-19?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

It is zoonotic, meaning that it was transmitted from animal to human. It is now sure that the disease can be transmitted from human to human.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE VIRUS?

The virus does not spread on its own. People who have the virus are the ones who spread it. Therefore, the following measures can help you protect yourself (and others) from the virus:

  • Wash your hands very often;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or with a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
  • Use single-use tissues, and then throw them away;
  • Do not shake hands or greet people with kisses on the cheek;
  • Avoid gatherings, reduce travel and contacts.

Coronavirus in Thailand News:

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Thailand ramps up action on plastic waste with a ban starting in 2021

In line with commitments from companies and governments across the world, Thailand has pledged to implement a ban on single-use plastics in 2021, implementing penalties for those violating the new norms, according to local sources.

Phi Phi island in Thailand has been dealing with severe issues of plastic waste. Credit Wikimedia Commons

The initiative is reportedly being implemented by Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa, who is working with the national cabinet and related agencies to raise public awareness on the campaign.

Guidelines on the ban are currently being developed but the goal will be to ban three types of plastics, microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastics, by the end of 2021. The other four types, lightweight plastic bags, styrofoam food containers, plastic cups, and plastic straws, will follow in 2022.

According to the new plan, customers in department and convenience stores won’t be given any more single-use plastic bags from next year, replacing them with paper or cloth bags. Dozens of shopping malls and stores such as 7-Eleven and HomePro have already pledged to fulfil the new scheme.

However, some have expressed a healthy dose of skepticism.

“This is a good start … I hope this is not just a PR exercise” said Tara Buakamsri, Greenpeace’s country director in Thailand. “The challenges is in the working details in how to measure progress and ensure that the measure is effective in really banning the use of plastic bag.”

The initiative is framed in what’s called Thailand’s Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030. Goals are also long-term, with an ambitious plan for Thailand to use 100% recycled plastic by 2027 in various forms, including turning waste into energy – a procedure rejected in some countries.

A total of 150 million tons of plastic waste are circulating in oceans, seas, and other water sources, having built up since the 1950s, according to Ocean Conservancy. Thailand is responsible for much of that, as the sixth country to dump the most waste into the sea, according to Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Center.

According to Greenpeace, about 75 billion pieces of plastic bags end up in the waste each year in Thailand. Half of that amount comes from malls, supermarkets, and convenience stores, with the other half coming from traditional markets and street vendors.

Thai people generate as much as 1.14 kilograms of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tons of waste per year, according to Thailand’s Department of Environmental Quality Promotion. Each person uses an average of eight plastic bags a day.

Only industrial companies in Thailand with more than 50 employees and machinery exceeding 50 horsepower are subject to monitoring for waste discharge and antipollution measures. This has been frequently questioned by environmental groups, pushing the government to act on plastic waste.

Joining a global movement

Thailand’s decision to ramp up action on plastic waste follows previous commitments by countries and companies across the globe, reacting to new reports of the negative consequences of single-use plastics.

India imposed last October a nationwide ban on plastic bags, cups, and straws. The European Union plans to ban single-use plastic items such as straws, forks, knives and cotton buds by 2021, while California would commit to a 75% reduction in plastic waste by 2030.

According to Ocean Conservancy, plastic has been found in more than 60% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtles species, as they eat it thinking it’s food. This can affect their nutrient uptake and challenge their feeding efficiency, threatening their lives.

About 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste is produced around the world and within that 275 million metric tons is a plastic waste, the NGO estimates. About eight million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year, on top of the 150 million tons that are already there.

Macaque tool-use patterns help us understand how early humans went about it

A new study on macaques at Thailand’s Ao Phang Nga National Park is helping us understand how early humans developed the use of stone tools.

Image credits Heiko S / Flickr.

Macaques tend to rely pretty heavily on stone tools, especially percussive (striking) tools, during their daily forage for food. This allows them access to more varied food sources — shellfish, in the case of the two groups of macaques that made the object of this study. The results indicate that while the environmental context definitely plays a part in tool use and development, cultural factors also matter.

Cracking oysters

“We observed differences among macaques on two different islands, in relation to tool selection and the degree of tool re-use when foraging for marine prey,” says co-author Dr. Tomos Proffitt from the University College London Institute of Archaeology.

The study assessed a total of 115 stone tools recovered from two islands (Boi Yai Island and Lobi Bay) located about 15 kilometers apart in southern Thailand, and are both part of the national park. Each island houses a population of wild long-tailed macaques, provides virtually the same tool-making resources (primarily limestone), and harbor the same prey species.

In such a context, the team expected both populations to develop similar, if not identical, tools. However, they found that the macaques on Boi Yai Island select heavier tools than their counterparts on Lobi Bay, while the latter’s tools show signs of repeated use on several species of prey.

Stone tools used to crack open oysters on Boi Yai tend to be larger than those used on Lobi Bay. While the team notes that oysters on Boi Yai Island are, in general, larger than those Lobi Bay, they believe that this is a learned rather than practical behavior.

“The theory is that if the environmental factors are the same—the only reasonable conclusion is that one island has developed its own tool using culture either through genetics or through passing down through a learning mechanism. While the other group exhibits a tool use culture which is more ephemeral and ad hoc,” says Dr. Proffitt.

Seeing how other primates develop and use tools today can help inform us about how our ancestors went about the same process. Lead author, Dr. Lydia Luncz (Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford), said:

“That we find a potential cultural behavior in macaques is not surprising to us. The interesting part is that the same foraging behavior creates distinct tool evidence in the environment. This might be useful to keep in mind when we look at the archaeological record of human ancestors as well”.

The paper “Group-specific archaeological signatures of stone tool use in wild macaques” has been published in the journal eLife.

Thai T. rexes.

Two new dinosaurs found in Thailand are smaller, cuter, but still deadly cousins of the T. Rex

Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Sirindhorn Museum in Thailand have identified two new cousins of T. rex.

Thai T. rexes.

Image credits Adun Samathi / University of Bonn.

The fossils of these two species were discovered in Thailand some 30 years ago, but hadn’t been studied until now. Both dinosaurs are relatively distant cousins of T. rex, the team reports, with a somewhat more primitive body structure. However, they were both effective predators.

The fossils were first unearthed three decades ago in Thailand and were subsequently passed over to the Sirindhorn Museum, where they were never examined in detail. Adun Samathi, a paleontologist currently doing his doctorate at the Steinmann Institute of Geology, Mineralogy, and Paleontology at the University of Bonn, re-discovered them in the museum’s archives around five years ago as part of his thesis efforts. He brought some casts of the fossils to the University of Bonn to analyze them together with his doctoral supervisor, Prof. Dr. Martin Sander, using state-of-the-art methods.

The results offer us fresh insight into the history of megaraptors. Tyrannosaurus rex is part of this lineage of carnivorous dinosaurs, whose name means “giant thieves”. There is some resemblance between the two new species and the iconic predator — they all, for example, ran on their hind legs and had a similar body structure. Unlike T. rex, however, the two new species had strong arms that ended in long, vicious-looking claws. Their heads were also more delicate and had long snouts.

“We were able to assign the bones to a novel megaraptor, which we baptized Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi,” explains Samathi.

The Cthulu-like name was chosen in honor of where the fossils were discovered — the Phuwiang district, Thailand — and the discoverer of the first Thai dinosaur fossil, Sudham Yaemniyom.

Phuwiangvenator was likely a very adept runner, judging by its anatomy. But it was much smaller than T. rex, only growing about six meters in length (so about half the size). The discovery is pretty exciting if you’re into dinosaurs (and who isn’t?) because megaraptors, so far, had predominantly been discovered in South America and Australia. Phuwiangvenator’s body structure seems to indicate that the lineage actually originated in this area, from which it eventually spread far and wide.

“We have compared the Thai fossils with the finds there,” says Samathi. “Various characteristics of Phuwiangvenator indicate that it is an early representative of this group.”

“We take this as an indication that the megaraptors originated in Southeast Asia and then spread to other regions.”

The other set of fossils that Samathi uncovered during this doctoral research seem to belong to another as of yet unidentified species. Sadly, there wasn’t enough material to clearly determine its ancestry; however, the team believes it was also a predator related to Phuwiangvenator and T. rex. Christened Vayuraptor nongbualamphuenisis, this dinosaur seems to have been the runt of the litter — it measures around 4.5 meters in length. It’s not much information to work from, but the size alone is useful as it paints a richer tapestry of the ancient ecosystem that these dinos lived in and the roles they undertook.

“Perhaps the situation can be compared with that of African big cats,” explains Samathi. “If Phuwiangvenator were a lion, Vayuraptor would be a cheetah.”

The two new predatory dinosaurs will be presented to the public today to mark the tenth anniversary of the Sirindhorn Museum. The event will be opened by the Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

The paper “Two new basal coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of Thailand” has been published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

Supermarkets in Thailand start using leaves as packaging instead of plastic

All image credits: Perfect Homes Chiangmai / Rimping.

If we want to be true stewards of this planet, there are many issue we need to solve, and plastic pollution is one of the biggest ones. In an attempt to reduce our reliance on plastic packaging and replace it with something more sustainable, a fewsupermarkets in Thailand have turned to a greener option: leaves.

The story starts with Perfect Homes Chiangmai‘s post praising this approach which they claim is not only plastic-free, but also cost-efficient. The approach was first implemented at Rimping Supermarkets in Thailand and quickly went viral on social media, but it was discovered through a stroke of luck.

“We just popped in to get a few items while we were waiting to sign some contracts with our lawyer, who was delayed, so we were not even meant to be there at that time. When I noticed the veg wrapped in banana leaves and simply liked the idea ad showed my wife who picked a few up to buy. I thought I would take a few pictures and just post to the page, and that was it,” one of the Perfect Homes Chiangmai’s team members who took these pictures told Bored Panda.

Plastic production has been steadily increasing ever since the material was developed. For years, scientists have been trying to draw people’s attention to this issue. Plastic can take hundreds or even a thousand year to decompose, and it usually ends up either in a landfill or in our oceans — where it threatens creatures in a number of ways.

The European Union recently banned single-use plastic, and several other countries are also taking serious measures against it. Last year, China has also stopped importing trash from all over the world — sparking another crisis. Before this, around 30% of the world’s waste would end up in China. The Asian country is now focusing on recycling its own garbage.

Other Asian countries are also trying to find their own way to deal with plastic pollution. This is a solid idea for a way to not only reduce plastic usage, but also develop a sustainable business idea. However, it’s still unclear if this approach can be successfully deployed at a larger scale and implemented in different parts of the world. At least for this supermarket chain in Thailand, it seems to work.

Meteor strikes Thailand twice in 3 months

 

The first (seen in the first animation) took place on September 7 and the second one on the November 2. People though these were some planes crashing, but were later confirmed to be small meteor showers.


Just so you know, this happens all the time in our atmosphere and there is nothing to be alarmed about. Albeit, legion of these meteors enter the atmosphere, most of them are burned away in the outer strata of our atmosphere. But some produce streaks in the sky that can be visualized. And finally a few do manage to make it to the surface of the Earth, but those are a rarity.

See Explanation. Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

 

PC: NASA, shooting star- youtube, september 7 2015 – youtube.

India-Tanzania-Thailand Scientists to Study ‘Bitter Gourd’ for anti-diabetes

HYDERABAD(South India),Jan 22: A group of scientists belonging to three developing countries – India, Thailand and Tanzania – is trying to find out the ideal variety of the ‘bitter gourd’ (Karela) that is believed to check diabetes from ancient times.

They are studying 10 hybrids of the Indian bitter gourd by analyzing the  germplasm and chemical constituents, particularly momordicin, in Hyderabad(Andhra Pradesh-India), Arusha(Tanzania) and Bangkok(Thailand).

The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre has sponsord the research which, apart from the Indian hybrids, would study 10 hybrids from Thailand, according to a report from Tanzania’s The Citizen.

“We are screening germplasm and will be selecting the best varieties high in anti-diabetic compounds as well as those with good horticulture traits,” a senior scientist associated with the project said.

The scientists are keen to find out whether Karela really fights the diabetes as it has been widely used in India for generations and mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts.

With India recording the highest rate of diabetes in the world, the researchers had chosen Hyderabad as for the ‘project bitter gourd’ as it has reportedly emerged the diabetes capital of the country.

People believe that the vegetable grown in the backyard these days has lost its anti-diabetic properties with the cultivation of a series of hybrid varieties for commercial purpose. This could be felt as the commercial variety is short of the original bitterness and pungency as against the original fruit.

They try to identify which of the 10 hybrids has the higher content of the anti-diabetic chemical – momordicin available in these countries, besides finding ways to increase the bioactive compounds to make it more effective.  The fruit also contains charantin, lectin and gurmarin.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that the number of people with diabetes is expected to rise from 177 million today to 370 million in 2030, and 76 per cent of them will be living in the developing countries.

The UN agency warns that diabetes will become one of the world’s main disablers and killers in the next 25 years.

According to an Indian heart expert, Dr Pujar Suresh, many people in Tanzania are at risk of getting diabetes and high blood pressure due to their poor diets.

In 2009, he examined 200 people at the Regency Medical Centre in Dar es Salaam and noted that many patients were overweight with a risk of diabetes.

The Tanzania Diabetic Association (TDA) has it in a recent report said that the rate of prevalence of the disease doubled two years ago as compared to the situation 10 year ago. The increase is more than six per cent on adult population living in towns. In 2005, it was estimated that there were about 500,000 people, who were diabetic.

Karela, more commonly known as bitter melon, is known worldwide for its miraculous medicinal properties. It is a natural wonder that has proven to be very beneficial for people with a number of diseases, particularly diabetes.
Despite its medicinal value, the Denmark-based World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) does not support or promote the use of bitter gourd for health purposes or funds research projects, its communications manager Jamal Butt told ‘Insight’.

 

“The World Diabetes Foundation is dedicated to the prevention and awareness of diabetes in the developing countries. We are a funding agency that supports projects through implementing partners in improving access to care and advocacy work,” he said.

“We do not engage in alternative medicines and operational research as such and linking to traditional medicines etc,” he added.

Karela supposedly stimulates insulin secretion metabolizing glucose in our body as it activates pancreas and bile to absorb and secrete juices properly.

It also helps in the digestion of carbohydrate, which is retained in the body as sugar. Karela is supposedly good in lowering the body’s blood sugar level.

As the herbal treatment for diabetes and its  side effects still have to be scientifically proven, bitter gourd has been used as a supplement and not the ultimate cure on a use it alone basis.  //EOM//