Thailand Environment, Crime and Disease
While Thailand has come a long way in the past few decades, it still has quite a long ways to go as far as development. Crime and disease are still prevalent, and through its development in its economy, and culture, they face new environmental problems. Globalization has brought many positive aspects to Thailand and to its development as a country; however it has had its negative effects.
The prime negativity to Thailand's development is the harm to its environment. Being an export-dependent country, their development relied heavily on the increased production of the exports - resulting in a lowered water and air quality (heightened pollution), and a loss of natural habitats. To counter this affect of industrialization and urbanization, the country and citizens have created multiple organizations, and policies to fight the negative affects to their environment. However, the speed at which these things are being implemented is much slower than that of the growth of industrialization in their economy. The air pollution in Bangkok even became two and a half times the standards set by the World Health Organization (Thailand).
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Thailand has an abundance of resources, both for production, and the possibility of renewable resources, to combat pollution, and harming the land with food production. However, while there have been efforts made to fight for the environment, they see multiple barriers to progress - some of them being a lack of actual implementation, and enforcement of policies, and a lack of financing to implement a strong utilization of their renewable energy resources (Uddin 2010).
Crime is another occurrence that Thailand still needs to fight through its development. Currently, the two main crimes facing Thais are human trafficking, and extreme violence stemming from protests in the streets of Bangkok over the political dispute. As far as human trafficking, Thailand is a source, a destination, and a pass-through route for human trafficking of men, women and children. Thai women and children are sent to “Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, Europe, Canada and the United States for sexual and labor exploitation”. Some Thailand natives are actually coerced to leave Thailand and move to Taiwan, Malaysia, US or the Middle East by some job recruiting agency, however, the individuals rack up a large debt to these agencies, and are then forced into “involuntary servitude”. Women are even trafficked within Thailand, from the north/Northwest to the area's capital, Bangkok, for the purpose of becoming sex slaves. However, the human trafficking, especially within Thailand itself, is decreasing due to an increased effort to implement preventative programs, and more economic opportunities for the women of Thailand. Those who are trafficked into Thailand typically come from “Burma, Cambodia, Laos, People's Republic of China, Russian and Uzbekistan”, and are women and children for the purpose of labor and sexual purposes. The typical labor jobs those Trafficked to Thailand “take” involved begging or fishing. As a combat against this horrible crime, Thailand has created many places and organizations for those who are adversely affected by human trafficking, whether it be a need for psychological help after abuse they may have incurred through the process, or a need for a place to stay, Thailand has plenty of resources. These programs provided mostly by the International Organization for Migration can provide shelter, healthcare, and food to those climbing out of their abusive situations from human trafficking, attempting to create a better life for themselves (HumanTrafficking.org).
The other Tier of hardship Thailand faces it the fight against HIV/AIDs within their community. Not only is it being passed from person to person in heterosexual relationships, but it is being passed from mother to child during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding. To combat this disease, Thailand officials have created multiple processes and programs to help control this epidemic. One of the methods involves the collection of blood donations. Thailand used to pay individuals, who gave blood, but they have gotten rid of any monetary benefit from giving blood, and those who do donate must be tested for HIV prior to their blood being accepted. Additionally, there have been multiple campaigns including “100 percent condom campaign”, to promote the use of condoms in all relationships, considering the high rate of HIV from commercial sexual activity that occurs in Thailand with their young male community. HIV contracted from mother to child has currently infected 30,000 children, and resulted in 7,500 AIDS cases in children. Without preventative measures, 3,000 of the 10,000 children born at risk of contracting HIV through their mothers would be infected per year. The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand has taken an interest in this unfortunate epidemic. Some of the processes this group has implemented are HIV screenings after birth for both mother and child, and advising against breastfeeding for HIV positives mothers (Kanshana 2004).
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In addition to globalization playing a role in the environment, disease and crime in Thailand, they also play a large role in the globalization and development of Thailand. As previously stated, with the globalization came a long period of industrialization for the economy of Thailand, but due to this, it has harmed the land that they depend on for over 70% of their GDP. This will make it harder to keep up with the growth of their economy (Uddin 2010).
With globalization comes knowledge, which has led Thais to realize the benefits to a democracy, instead of the constitutional monarchy they are currently led by. The past few months have been marked by protests between the yellow (those in support of the current political climate) and red shirts (those who are protesting the current political state). The protestors are voicing their disagreement with the government being overtaken after the progression of their political process to have an elected official, and returning to a monarchy by political force. They are currently experiencing the “worst political violence” that they had ever seen in more than twenty years. On April 10th, 2010, the non-violent protests were combated “with tear gas, gunfire, and explosions”. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who the protestors are calling to resign and allow an elected official to run office, states that he chose to use force on the protestors so that the government did not appear weak. Even though the activities of the protestors were completely peaceful, the fact that they had gone on for three days with no signs of receding in their protesting effort seemed to be enough for the government to react violently (Mydans 2010).
So while globalization brings many positive factors into an economy experiencing growth and development from an otherwise poverty-stricken, undeveloped state, there are many negative factors that the country must combat to continue on their road to further development and success. It seems as through the efforts are there, and they are progressing as a country, but a stronger, more wide-spread effort needs to be made in order for any implementations to stick, and have a true long-lasting affect on Thailand and their community.
HumanTrafficking.org | Thailand. (n.d.). HumanTrafficking.org: A Web Resource for Combating Human Trafficking in the East Asia Pacific Region. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/thailand
Thailand. (n.d.). Thailand. Retrieved May 2, 2010, from http://www.worldbank.or.th/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/THAILANDEXTN/0,,menuPK:333302~pagePK:1411
MYDANS, S., & FULLER, T. (2010, April 11). Thai Protesters Repulse Troops; Gunfire and Explosions Erupt in the Streets. Urban Studies, p. 6.
Kanshana, S., Naiwatanakul, T., Simonds, R. J., Amornwichet, P., Teeraratkul, A., Culnane, M. et al. (2004). Monitoring and evaluating the national program to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Thailand. New Directions for Evaluation, 2004(103), 117 - 128.
Uddin, S. N., Taplin, R., &Yu, X. (2010). Towards a sustainable energy future—exploring current barriers and potential solutions in Thailand. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 12(1), 63 - 87.
Content & Impact of issues on economy/development of country discussed: 65 points
Issues: environment, crime, disease
Research synthesized into conclusion and implications for continued globalization discussed. 35 points
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