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Thai team to explore North Pole to better protect ecosystem

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Thai team to explore North Pole to better protect ecosystem

By Kornrawee Panyasuppakun, 
Sandy Leegumjorn 
The Nation 

 

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Key researchers talk yesterday at the Chamchuri Square building about the goals and challenges of Asia’s and Thailand’s first Arctic exploration to begin on July 24.

 

A THAI TEAM will be the first from Asia to explore the North Pole on a mission to conduct underwater exploration and the impact of microplastics on marine life.

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The exploration trip will run from July 24 to August 12. 

 

Key researchers for the team are Voranop Viyakarn and Suchana Chavanich, who teach at Chulalaongkorn University’s (CU) Faculty of Science. 

 

“The team comprises 13 members, including PhD candidates and diving experts,” CU vice president Pomthong Malakul Na Ayudhaya said yesterday. 

 

The study trip has been organised as an initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The princess has previously visited both the North Pole and the South Pole. 

 

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Voranop Viyakarn, who heads the research team, said what happened at the North Pole in the distant past would be an indicator of what could happen to the rest of the world. Although the North Pole is thousands of kilometres away from Thailand, the two places are closely linked from an ecological viewpoint, he said.

 

Vegard Holmelid, the Norwegian Embassy’s charge d’affaires, said: “It is important for Thai people to explore the North Pole because one place affects other places.” 

 

He explained that Norway’s Svalbard is like a “natural lab” and “the place to be” to “measure, create the data, earn more knowledge and find a solution” to environmental problems.

 

Voranop said researchers around the world closely watched the poles to see the effects of climate change.

 

“It is difficult to measure the effects of climate change at home because of all the ongoing activities,” he said. “ The greenhouse gases are being released to the atmosphere and microplastics are being washed down into the ocean every day. 

 

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“However, at the poles, there are few activities and the lands are pure, but these lands are greatly affected by climate change,” he explained.

 

“A 1 degree Celsius drop in temperature may not affect us in Thailand but in the Arctic it can lead to more ice melting and some of the vulnerable marine life seeking cold water deeper in the ocean.”

 

Researchers said climate change affected the North Pole and the South Pole in different ways. So to gain comprehensive data about the effects of climate change and microplastics, researchers must look at both places. 

 

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Suchana said her team used to work at the South Pole and would apply their experiences there to the upcoming trip. 

 

The team will have to deal with multiple challenges, including the extremely low temperatures and the high level of skill required to dive wearing dry suits. And then there are the wild animals, such as polar bears.

 

“For that reason, we need all 13 people to watch out for each other,” said Voranop.

 

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In addition to gathering information, Voranop’s team will shoot videos during the trip. “We will publish a book and produce a short documentary about the exploration later on,” he said. 

 

This expedition to the North Pole will pave the way for Thailand’s researchers to better understand the place and the changes it is undergoing. That knowledge can also be applied to improving the environment of Thailand and the rest of the world.

 

Their work could help raise awareness about the impacts of pollution and microplastics on marine life ecosystems, which are essential for sustaining life on the planet, including the Thai fishing industry. And it could inspire a new generation of Thai scientists to explore the North Pole.

 

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Pomthong said the research trip to the North Pole would also boost CU’s research strengths. 

 

“It will be useful to international programmes on the environment and North Pole. 

 

“It will also spur marine-ecological conservation,” he added.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30350348

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2018-07-19

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There's no need to investigate the influence of plastic, it's very bad and thailand is one of the largest polluters of the world.

 

Better start cleaning the seas and rivers first.

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Wow, an ice diving expedition, that's right up there with cave diving on the list of crazy.

 

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24 minutes ago, webfact said:

And then there are the wild animals, such as polar bears.

 

“For that reason, we need all 13 people to watch out for each other,” said Voranop.

 

Ice bears will be queuing up for some cheap Thai snacks. 

 

Leave the north pole to the experts or pay the price .   They better bring in a few experienced Norwegians with them . 

  

 

 

 

 

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Just more crap (literally) and plastic bags, leave it to the experts and read their reports, why do you need to go in person??

 

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58 minutes ago, webfact said:

A THAI TEAM will be the first from Asia to explore the North Pole on a mission to conduct underwater exploration and the impact of microplastics on marine life.

The impact of microplastics on marine life?

 

I can answer that one. 

 

They are an environmental and ecological catastrophe for marine life. 

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At least they are considering things outside of their borders. A trip like this conducted by Thailand might seem a bit strange considering North America and Europe are better situated and more familiar with the pole.  But this will bring some exposure to the scientists, and science is all about funding these days. And who knows, Thais might start getting the idea to stop littering everywhere they go.

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Why not dive in the Andaman Sea or the Gulf of Siam - much more plastic to see and clean up

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3 hours ago, balo said:

 

“For that reason, we need all 13 people to watch out for each other,” said Voranop.

13? this number remember me something...maybe we will see another rescue action....

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That's a smart move, safety first, :coffee1: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shame they can't look in the mirror on environmental issues

and act on what they see. :bah:

 

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2 hours ago, Bluespunk said:

The impact of microplastics on marine life?

 

I can answer that one. 

 

They are an environmental and ecological catastrophe for marine life. 

Yep pretty sure you don't need to do much more research on that topic.

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4 hours ago, webfact said:

A THAI TEAM will be the first from Asia to explore the North Pole on a mission to conduct underwater exploration and the impact of microplastics on marine life.

That makes sense...,

or they could dive off shore Chonburi to explore the impact of macroplastics...

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