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Thailand marks World Environment Day 2016

PHUKET: No official events are planned in Phuket to mark World Environment Day 2016 today, with this year's theme emphasizing the need to combat wildlife trafficking and poaching worldwide.

Sunday 5 June 2016, 07:12AM

Though Phuket and adjacent provinces have faced its share of issues with "wildlife", environment and natural resources, today on the island will be relatively quiet on that front.

There are unconfirmed reports that members from the Phuket City Municipality may have planted a few trees and flowers on June 1, "as they usually do to mark World Environment Day", which is typically done along the Bang Yai Canal, which is the waterway that carries the Phuket city's wastewater through town and to a treatment facility in Saphan Hin, next to the at-capacity incinerator and overflowing landfills, where the wastewater is then treated before ultimately being released into the ocean, at Phuket's southeast coast. 

However, those reports could not be confirmed at the time of press. 

Meanwhile, an event to mark World Environment Day in Thailand has been held this weekend in Chiang Mai, and another event will be held at the end of the month in Bangkok, June 29, cofirms a few reports from the National News Bureua of Thailand

The Government Public Relations Department (PRD) and other related agencies will co-host an event to mark World Environment Day, aiming to encourage better management of garbage. 

As June 5 of every year is World Environment Day, the PRD this year is joining hands with the Pollution Control Department, the Thai Society of Environmental Journalists and Siam Technology College to hold an event under the concept of promoting efficient garbage and environmental management. 

Ms Pichaya Muangnao, Executive Director of the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand, stated that this activity is made possible by all relevant sectors in accordance with the government policy to improve the quality of life and save the environment by teaching the public to reduce, separate and reuse their garbage in a correct manner. 

The World Environment Day event is set to take place at Central Festival Department Store in Chiang Mai from June 4-5 and at Siam Paragon Shopping Center in Bangkok on June 29. It will feature exhibitions on garbage management, talks between representatives of the public sector and various communities and a display of solar-powered vehicles invented by students of Siam Technology College. 

 Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanchanarat said Thailand is organizing World Environment Day 2016 under the theme: “Go Wild For Life.”

This year's theme, which falls on June 5, apparently involves ‘Life on Land’ and calls for global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species and to increase the capacity of local communities to pursue opportunities of sustainable livelihood.

The minister said the World Environment Day focuses on the involvement of all sectors and the realization of shared responsibility of every member of society to help preserve natural resources and the environment.

Thailand has come up with a solution against illegal wildlife trafficking by suppressing alleged offenders, revising and making new laws to step up the efficiency in solving the problems.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will organize World Environment Day 2016 on June 29, 2016, at the Royal Paragon Hall in Siam Paragon shopping complex. 

MEANWHILE,  Eco-crime has hit a record high at up to US$258 billion, outstripping the illegal trade in small arms, as international criminal gangs and militant groups profit from the plunder of Earth's resources, a report has revealed

The news was revealed by a report published on the World Environment Day 2016 website (link here) as follows:

Nairobi, 4 June 2016 - The value of environmental crime is 26 per cent larger than previous estimates, at $91-258 billion today compared to $70-213 billion in 2014, according to a rapid response report published today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL.

The Rise of Environmental Crime, released on the eve of World Environment Day (WED), finds that weak laws and poorly funded security forces are enabling international criminal networks and armed rebels to profit from a trade that fuels conflicts, devastates ecosystems and is threatening species with extinction.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "Interpol and UNEP have joined forces to bring to the attention of the world the sheer scale of environmental crime. The vast sums of money generated from these crimes keep sophisticated international criminal gangs in business, and fuel insecurity around the world.

"The result is not only devastating to the environment and local economies, but to all those who are menaced by these criminal enterprises. The world needs to come together now to take strong national and international action to bring environmental crime to an end."

Environmental crime dwarfs the illegal trade in small arms, which is valued at about $3 billion. It is the world's fourth-largest criminal enterprise after drug smuggling, counterfeiting and human trafficking. The amount of money lost due to environmental crime is 10,000 times greater than the amount of money spent by international agencies on combatting it - just $20-30 million.

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INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said, "Environmental crime is growing at an alarming pace. The complexity of this type of criminality requires a multi-sector response underpinned by collaboration across borders. Through its global policing capabilities, INTERPOL is resolutely committed to working with its member countries to combat the organized crime networks active in environmental crime."

The report recommends strong action, legislation and sanctions at the national and international level, including measures targeted at disrupting overseas tax havens; an increase in financial support commensurate with the serious threat that environmental crime poses to sustainable development; and economic incentives and alternative livelihoods for those at the bottom of the environmental crime chain.

The last decade has seen environmental crime rise by at least 5-7 per cent per year. This means that environmental crime - which includes the illegal trade in wildlife, corporate crime in the forestry sector, the illegal exploitation and sale of gold and other minerals, illegal fisheries, the trafficking of hazardous waste and carbon credit fraud - is growing two to three times faster than global GDP.

To combat the illegal trade in wildlife, the United Nations system and partners have launched their Wild For Life campaign, which draws on support from celebrities such as Gisele Bündchen, Yaya Touré and Neymar Jr. to mobilize millions to take action against poaching and the trafficking of illegal wildlife products.

Already, thousands of people and more than 25 ministers have chosen a species to show their commitment to protecting wildlife. The host of this year's World Environment Day, the Government of Angola, has joined the fight, promising to shut down its domestic trade in illegal ivory, toughen border controls and restore its elephant population through conservation measures.

More than one quarter of the world's elephant population has been killed in a decade. Some of world's most vulnerable wildlife, like rhinos and elephants, are being killed at a rate that has grown by more than 25 per cent every year in the last decade.

The report also looks at how money generated from the illegal exploitation of natural resources funds rebel groups, terrorist networks and international criminal cartels. In the last decade, for example, poachers have killed an average of 3,000 elephants per year in Tanzania. That's an annual street market value for ivory traffickers of $10.5 million, an amount that is five times greater than the entire national budget of the country's wildlife division.


The report notes that transnational organized criminal networks are using environmental crime to launder drug money. Illegal gold mining in Colombia, for example, is now considered one of the easiest ways to launder money from the country's drug trade.

International criminal cartels are also involved in the trafficking of hazardous waste and chemicals, often mislabelling this type of waste in order to evade law enforcement agencies. In 2013, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that the illegal trade in e-waste to Southeast Asia and the Pacific was estimated at $3.75 billion annually.


Criminal networks linked to the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have spent about 2 per cent of their proceeds to fund up to 49 different rebel groups. According to some estimates by the UN, the illegal exploitation of natural resources in eastern DRC is valued at $722-862 million annually.


The value of forestry crimes, including corporate crimes and illegal logging, is estimated at $50-152 billion per year.


The report looks at the rise of white collar environmental crime, from the use of shell companies in tax havens to launder money generated from illegal logging to transfer mispricing, hacking and identity theft. Carbon trading is the world's fastest growing commodities market. Carbon credit fraud cases have involved sums of transfers and profits that stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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