"World Environment Day" in Thailand

CNC reporting from Bangkok
Added On June 7, 2013

Thailand plans to become the food hub of ASEAN. But the United Nation's Environment Programme (UNEP) on Wednesday warns the Kingdom to "Think, Eat, Save and Reduce Foodprint" as its amount of food wasted has surpassed other South-East Asia countries.

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5th. The theme for this year's World Environment Day celebration is "Think. Eat. Save."

In recognition of the day, the UNEP has reminded the Thais that wasted food will only lead to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, more fuel used for transportation, and more rotten food, creating more methane - one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change.

At the United Nations Building in Bangkok, UNEP Senior Administrative Officer Henk Verbeek, said in a press conference that Methane is more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

The vast amount of food going to landfills is a major cause of global warming.

Henk said that as a leading food exporting country, Thailand enjoys a wide range of food, and is less concern about food waste.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) HENK VERBEEK, United Nation's Environment Programme
"Thailand is a food exporter. So there is less concern about food waste. But within Thailand, there are big differences in access to food. Whilst the country (Thailand) is exporting food, there is another group of people who are suffering from food undernourishment."

Perhaps it has become a norm. Cafeteria and restaurants offer a fusion of food, from Chinese food to Middle Eastern food, Thai food, Oriental food and East to West.

Because there is ample choices of food and food are not expensive in Thailand, parents tend to tell their children to stop eating if they feel "full".

Eleven year old Sial Hashimi is one example.

"Usually they (parents) tell me to finish it (food) and if I don' t like it then they tell me to throw away because there is no use of eating food when I don't like it, except ofcourse if the food makes me healthy."

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) HENK VERBEEK, United Nation's Environment Programme
"Thailand in comparing to neighboring countries is more affluent. So when a country is more affluent, there is higher risk of food waste. In countries like Laos, Cambodia which are still thriving in an economic phase, there is less food wasted."

Early this year, Thailand's Department of International Trade revealed the government's determination to promote the Thai food product and food service businesses to the ASEAN and global markets, in accordance with its Thai Kitchen to the World strategy.

At the same time, it plans to transform the country into the largest food trade and distribution center in the Asian region.

Additionally, the Commerce Ministry aims to expand Thai food export to new potential markets, particularly ASEAN, China, India, Russian and Africa, in order to compensate for the loss from the crisis-stricken main markets.

In other parts of Thailand, to celebrate the World Environment Day, several events were held to raise the public awareness of environmental protection and green lifestyle.

An "Think, Eat, Save" event was held at a shopping mall in downtown Bangkok. Through several demonstrations people were taught how to use recycle materials.