BANGKOK — Bangkokians floated 40 percent fewer krathongs than they did last year, and halved the number of styrofoam krathongs used.
According to data collected from municipal workers, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said Tuesday morning that the City Hall cleaned up a total of 502,024 krathongs, which is 340,000 fewer than the 841,327 floated for Loy Krathong 2018.
Aswin said that 483,264 of those krathongs, or around 96 percent were made of biodegradable materials. About 4 percent of the krathongs, or 18,760, were made of styrofoam. In 2018, more than twice as many foam krathongs were used – 44,883.
“I’m happy youths of today are thinking of new ways to float krathongs, such as ice krathongs, online krathongs, and other environmentally-friendly krathongs and showing care for the quality of our waterways,” Aswin wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday. “I hope everyone will keep up this effort not just for Loy Krathong.”
The Bangkok district with the most krathongs was Lat Krabang, which used 33,353 krathongs, while Prawet district used the most foam krathongs, or 1,250.
Biodegradable krathongs will be processed to make natural fertilizer at a factory in Nong Khaem district, like last year. Foam krathongs will be sent to the landfill.
A total of 203 municipal city workers on 40 boats covered a 34 kilometer stretch from the Rama VII bridge area down the Chao Phraya to the Bang Na district, or collected krathongs from public parks and ponds.
Popular online krathong websites saw much traffic. On MThai’s Loy Krathong page alone, the online counter floated a total of 461,391 krathongs as of press time, or more than 90 percent the actual krathongs people floated in Bangkok.
Another caveat of online krathongs – one can read the wishes that people put down in the great pond of cyberspace. One user on Sanook’s page wrote, “May I stop being lazy, and become a new, industrious person who is determined at life.”
A meme posted by Toxic Ant page showing Greta Thunberg dressed up as Phra Mae Kongka, or Mother Ganges, Monday night may explain why some Thais didn’t float a krathong this year.
“Are you trying to pay respect to someone by dumping trash in their home? How dare you,” the meme says, riffing off of the Swedish climate activist’s UN speech in September.
A viral video with more than 2.6 million views showed a way to join in the festivities without creating trash: