Thai bishop slams deforestation caused by industry and sugar cane

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BANGKOK, May 28, 2013–Thailands’s forests are getting smaller and smaller as a result of deforestation. Trees are cut down to produce fuel for industry or clear the land for sugar cane plantations.

Mgr Louis Bishop Chamniern Santisukniran, archbishop of Tharae-Nongsaeng, has complained about such ecological damage by organising a three-day youth camp to raise awareness among students about environmental protection. “May each act in their own little way for the common good of society and the environment,” the archbishop told the camps’s young participants.

A report by the WWF published in early April provided documentary evidence of the fast-shrinking forests of Thailand and Vietnam, which lost 43 per cent of their tree-covered lands between 1973 and 2009. Since then, deforestation has accelerated, with about 4,000 trees felled a day.

Hundreds of lorries and tractors carry the lumber destined for fuel production, clearing the land for a growing number of sugar cane plantations.

Thanks to the initiative of the Archbishop of Tharae-Nongsaeng, the local Catholic Church organised a three-day camp to boost youth interest in the country’s environmental problems.

During the retreat, young people attended lectures on human rights and the environment given by Fr Surawuth Som-ngarm.

The gathering, which was attended by 40 students from three different schools, offered an important opportunity for debate and awareness raising.

All the participants expressed enthusiasm and a desire to tell their parents about what they learnt at the camp.

The curse of deforestation touches the entire area of ??the Greater Mekong River. The WWF does not expect the rate of deforestation to slow down. By 2030, the region could lose up to 34 per cent of its existing forests. (AsiaNews)

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