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Environmental Degradation on Loy Krathong day: In search of the floats
  • Loy Krathong Festival

    Thailand is known as a country with many beautiful traditions. People appreciate the culture and traditions of Thailand. Sometimes, these cultural traditions are the point that attracts tourists from different countries to come to Thailand to see this tradition with their own eyes.

    Loy Krathong is one of the traditions that has received a lot of attention from tourists. This tradition has been around for a long time, according to the records in the Sirajaruk, the Loy Krathong tradition has existed since the Sukhothai period. In the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, the Loy Krathong tradition was called "the ceremony of Jongprarian" or "Loy the Yepeng".

    Regularly, The Loy Krathong Festival is held in November every year. This tradition was established to get rid of bad luck and ask for forgiveness from the Goddess of Water. Therefore, it is often seen in many areas hosting Loy Krathong festivals in areas adjacent to rivers, canals which each area will have its own unique and interesting identity. This year's Loy Krathong in Thailand will be held on 19 November. However, there may not be a big event due to the Covid - 19 situation.

     

    Current situation of Loy Krathong

    According to the previous paragraph, Loy Krathong Festival seems to be a beautiful tradition with good intentions paying respect and seeking forgiveness from the Goddess of Water. However, the floats which we called “ Krathong ” plays the important role in this festival and also other non-biodegradable components that generally come with Krathong. Despite, we currently produce more environmentally-friendly Krathong, e.g., frozen Krathong, bread Krathong. People assumed that Krathong which is made from bread would be friendly to the aquatic animals that live in such water sources due to the edible advantage for the aquatic animals but how could the aquatic animals swallow all of those? People do believe that frozen Krathong which they freeze the water into Krathong shape and related things would be safe for the aquatic animals but do they know that not all aquatic animals are cold-blooded, which they could adjust themselves through the temperature changes from many frozen Krathong in their habitat. Therefore, the warm-blooded could not survive with the previously mentioned circumstance. Not to mention about the lantern which people usually float into the sky on the Loy Krathong day that also caused environmental degradation in this article. The question is “ Is the beautiful Loy Krathong tradition seems to be an indirectly intended degrading environment? ”

    Over recent years, many people in Thailand celebrate Loy Krathong Festival by coming out and floating Krathong on Loy Krathong Day. With regard to these acts, the enormous effect on the environment is increased. Imagine the water sources filled with many Krathong. In other words, the water sources fill with banana trucks and leaves, flowers, foams, bread, and other components caused water pollution and a stinky nearby. Furthermore, it would be even worse when the next day comes. Therefore, we could mention that Krathong we floated in the Loy Krathong night is turning to be enormous trash shortly.

    There are many living things including animals and humans would be affected by this matter. An animal that lives in the water sources and nearby may not reproduce and survive from the effect after the Loy Krathong festival. The Krathong and components may harm animals. Furthermore, it may cause the death of an animal in the finals. People who live around the water sources and nearby would rationally be affected by this matter too. Water pollution is the contamination of water sources by substances that make the water unusable for drinking, cooking, cleaning, swimming, and other activities. Therefore, people could not use the water for their benefit and related things. Furthermore, water pollutants may cause disease or act as poisons on humans and animals. Have you ever thought about these matters before floating your Krathong to the water and happily celebrating on the Loy Krathong day?

    Importantly, the environmental degradation of the Loy Krathong festival would affect everyone in society more or less. Therefore, everyone in society lawfully has the rights and duties in a healthy and sustainable environment.

     

    Take a look at Thailand’s Constitution

    If we meditate on the significant Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. We could see that the latest Constitution which Thai citizens have been avoiding has been included some interesting substances. This Constitution prescribed so many substances to assure Thai citizens rights and to appoint their duties. However, the duty of the state is prescribed in Section 57 (Chapter 5) of the Constitution. With the mentioned section, it appoints the duty of the states including the duty to conserve, protect, maintain, restore, etc. of the natural resources or the environment and biodiversity in a balanced and sustainable. Section 43 of the Constitution prescribed the rights and duties of Thai citizens that they could lawfully arrange and conserve their traditions such as the Loy Krathong tradition and they could rightfully accept and live in the healthy environment which the government provided. However, is it enforceable? and what would happen when we compare the Loy Krathong Festival to the Constitution and other related Acts?

     

    Compared Loy Krathong with Constitution and other related Acts

    Besides the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. Aiming to another aspect of law such as an Acts. In Thailand, we have so many Acts that relate to the environmental matters, e.g., Factory Act B.E. 2535, Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Act B.E. 2522. However, this article will only aim to “ National Environmental Quality Promotion and Conservation Act B.E. 2535 (1992) ” which defined "Waste" is the solid wastes, filth, wastewater, waste air, polluting substances, or any other hazardous materials which are discharged or originated from a source of pollution, including residues, sediments, or the remainders of such matters, either in solid, liquid or gaseous state.

    Moreover, "Pollutant" means wastes, hazardous materials, and other polluting substances as well as residues, sediments, or the remainder of such matters, which are discharged from sources of pollution or naturally occur in the environment, that produce or may produce impacts on environmental quality or cause poisonous or harmful conditions to the health and the hygiene of the population, and shall include radiation, heat, light, noise, odor, vibration or other nuisances emanated or discharged from sources of pollution. Therefore, is Krathong also a “Waste” or a “Pollutant” by this Act? Krathong is also one of the solid waste? or one of the “Pollutant”. In our sight, Krathong is one of the Pollutant type and Solid waste within this Act. With the matter that Krathong could be a hazardous material in the river or the water sources with the capacity of poisons or other harmful conditions for the health and the hygiene of the populations and it might cause hazardous odor.

    However, This Act does not only define the words “Waste” and “Pollution”. It also includes the duty of the states to control and to reduce the pollution problems.

     

    Is Loy Krathong violating the Law?

    From the information that we previously informed. We could say that it is actually true that the government officers are not concerned about this matter as they should. To summarize, government officers have a duty to maintain, protect the environment, quality of life, and population. Following Section 57 (Chapter 5) of the Constitution, National Environmental Quality Promotion and Conservation Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), etc. In fact, Government officers do not follow the duty as they should do. Nevertheless, mentioned duty is not specifically the government officer’s but also Thai citizen’s who must assist, prevent, sustain the environment and natural resources following Section 43 of the Constitution of Thailand to provide and conserve a great life in a healthy environment for the next generation of Thai citizens. Thai citizens with their duties also have to conserve the custom according to Section 43 of the Constitution. Therefore, We should improve the Loy Krathong tradition to match the recent society. This tradition must not be canceled but it should be changed to suit the times such as organizing an online Loy Krathong to reduce waste in rivers, canals as well as streams to keep the environment with us for a long time.

     

    Citations

    Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560

    “ Cold-blooded vs Warm-blooded animals- Definition, 16 Differences, Examples, ” Anupama Supkota, accessed 15 October 2021, from https://microbenotes.com/cold-blooded-vs-warm-blooded-animals

    Factory Act B.E. 2535

    Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Act B.E. 2522

    National Environmental Quality Promotion and Conservation Act B.E. 2535 (1992)

    “ Tradition VS trash on Loy Krathong, ” Suwitcha Chaiyong, accessed 16 October 2021, from https://www.bangkokpost.com/life/social-and-lifestyle/1791719/tradition-vs-trash-on-l

    “ Water Pollution, ” HARVARD T.H. CHAN, accessed 15 October 2021, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ehep/82-2/

    ประวัติความเป็นมาของวันลอยกระทงไทย, ” anonymous,  สืบค้นเมื่อ 15 ตุลาคม 2564, จาก https://phuketmeetingconference.com/news/loy-kra-thong-thai-culture/

      ประวัติวันลอยกระทง ประเพณีลอยกระทง,  กรมส่งเสริมการปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่น, สืบค้นเมื่อ 16 ตุลาคม 2564, จาก https://bit.ly/3BRWEWu


    Contibutors 

    Nanchanat Tangpawana

    Kornkod Suk - aram

    Nattakarn Vivatvanavong

    Chayanee Maneein


    photo by dogherine on Unsplash


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