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(From Bangkok Post)
Byline: Suthon Sukphisit
Sometime around the middle of last year I made a trip to the village of Ban Pred Nai in Trat province. The local people there were deep into a project to restore the degraded natural environment, and were making such impressive progress that their achievement could serve as a model for villages in other parts of the country experiencing other environmental problems.
Earlier, the village had been affected by a problem shared by many of Thailand's seaside villages. Some years ago, shrimp farming was very widespread in coastal areas of Thailand because of the high price the shrimps demanded on both domestic and foreign markets. Natural salt marshes were destroyed to create the farms and the marshland vegetation, the breeding place of many forms of sea life, was cleared.
The cost of creating and maintaining the shrimp farms was high, and there was the problem of pollution caused by waste water from the farms, which circulated through the area. Eventually they had to close down, with the farmers losing large amounts of …