Bangkok Officials Ready To Clean Tons Of Kratong

(6 November) The environmental agency of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) says it is prepared to cope with tons of Kratongs that are expected to flood Chao Praya River on the upcoming Loy Kratong Festival.

The festival, which falls on 17 November this year, is traditionally celebrated among the Thai people by floating Kratong into the water sources such as rivers to pay respect to the river goddess Pra Mae Kong Ka. 
Mr. Somchai Chatsakulpen, deputy-director of the BMA environmental department, said that he expected the number of Kratongs would not differ much from last year′s festival.
In 2012 Loy Kratong, BMA workers have collected at least 916,354 Kratongs from Chao Praya River, which amounts to over 4,000 tons of waste. However, over 80 – 90% of Kratongs are made of natural resources which are easily disposed such as banana leafs, whereas only 10% are made of non-disposable waste like foam and plastic. 
Numbers of Kratong retrieved from the river in 2012 doubled the waste gathered in 2010. In 2011, only 200,000 – 300,000 Kratongs were floated, partly due to the Great Flood that was devastating many parts of the country including Bangkok.
This year, the BMA environment department, in collaboration with Department of Drainage and Sewerage, and District Offices, had arranged the policy to gather Kratongs in many parts of Bangkok before 06.00 on 18 November.
The relevant agencies must submit their reports about the operatuion to the Environment Department by 07.00 to be assessed and reported to Bangkok Governor later in the same morning, said Mr. Somchai.
Mr. Somchai also asked the public to use natural materials for their Kratongs – banana chunk, banana leaves and bread – as they are environmentally friendly and can be easily disposed.
BMA also instructed Bangkok Fire and Rescue Department and City Law Enforcement Department to actively maintain public safety during the festival, particularly in the waterfront areas.
Furthermore, the use of fireworks would be prohibited throughout the festival. The BMA says it will press legal action against those who violated the restriction on fireworks. However, in previous years many Loy Kratong festival-goers ended up ignoring the prohibition, leading to injuries and deaths.

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