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Locals scattering cremated remain near the Mun river cause a major ecological problem

Nakhon Ratchasima province has prohibited the practice of scattering the ashes of the deceased into the Mun River at a public park in Chalerm Phrakiat district, following complaints from residents.

Vichien Chantaranothai, governor of Nakhon Ratchasima, said residents of seven villages in Tha Chang Sub-District complained that service providers arranged for the riverside disposal of candles, incense sticks, and personal effects of the deceased. This has occasionally included mattresses and pillows, which contaminate the river and create an unpleasant scene for the general public and nearby residents.

Vichien said ashes and other items dumped into the river have the potential to travel hundreds of kilometers downstream, prompting environmental concerns for communities. To put an end to the practice, the governor said officials have been tasked with informing the public about the new rules and patrolling riverside areas. He added that violators and those who assist in discarding activities will face legal action, which could include a maximum penalty of three months in prison or a fine of 25,000 baht, or both.

In several northeastern provinces, scattering loved ones’ ashes into the Mun River from a boat is a common practice. Boatmen for hire wait on the river bank, typically near a temple, to serve families who travel great distances to participate in the ritual. However the Mun River is a major river that serves as a tributary river passing through Buriram, Surin, and Sisaket Provinces which will merge into the Mekong river larger later, by scattering the ashes of the deceased can cause damage to local fisheries as well as hygiene problems.

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