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BANGKOK: Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered security agencies and related ministries to beef up security during the Loy Krathong and New Year festivals.

Government spokesman Maj General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said PM Prayut had instructed security agencies and the ministries of Tourism and Sport, Transport and Culture to be extra vigilant.

The prime minister has instructed the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, operating under the Ministry of Interior, to be the lead agency coordinating with other agencies in stepping up security measures under the agenda ‘Safety Thailand’, said Gen Sansern.

“The objective is to make Thailand a nice place to live and travel, with high security and safety and the capability of handling any disasters immediately and efficiently,” Gen Sansern said.

PM Prayut has ordered concerned agencies to launch campaigns aimed at making people behave during Loy Kratong and other upcoming festive activities, Gen Sansern confirmed.

There has also been a call for people to respect the environment during the festive season.

Thailand is the sixth worst country in the world in terms of mismanagement leading to garbage accumulation in the ocean. It falls just behind China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, confirmed Vijarn Simachaya, director-general of the country’s Pollution Control Department.

A meeting between the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment resolved that the Department of Pollution Control would handle garbage management at tourist sites during the festive season.

The aim is for all sectors of society to play a part in managing garbage to improve tourist sites as well as the environment. This initiative is part of a sustainable development push by the government.

The public is urged to select materials like banana leaves and orchids to make krathongs because such materials decompose easily. People are urged to refrain from using foam and plastic, which take hundreds of years to decompose, thus posing threats to marine life.

Krathongs made from bread could cause water pollution as bread is composed of protein, carbohydrates and fats that deprive water of oxygen needed for natural decomposition, said Mr Vijarn.

The government has set the ultimate goal of zero public transport accidents during the festive season, confirmed Gen Sansern.

Agencies in charge of piers and places where people float krathongs have been told to check safety equipment to ensure that it functions well.

The government wants the public to cooperate by wearing “polite clothes” to preserve and uphold Thai culture and avoid trouble from ill-intentioned groups.

The government has also assigned security officials in an effort to prevent the public from floating krathongs near airports.

— The Nation