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Social media allow the public to monitor important issues

AS THEY did in 2011, people are again logging on to their social-media accounts to monitor floods. And like in 2011, people are expressing their worries about what's going to happen.

Online communities, such as Roo Su Flood, https://www.facebook.com/ROOSUFLOOD, with 111,842 likes, and Thai Flood, https://www.facebook.com/thaiflood, with 73,009 likes, which were active in providing up-to-date information in 2011, are back in the social-media spotlight.

However, apart from worries about floods, there is another hot topic in the social media - the planned construction of the Mae Wong Dam in Nakhon Sawan province.

There are lots of arguments from both supporters and opponents of the dam, not to mention the many people who are trying to link the current flooding to the project. Many supporters say that there will be no more floods if this dam is built, while the opponents argue that if the forests are torn down, there will be no protection from floods.

This confrontation between dam supporters and opponents are continuing, and the only difference this time is that all the information about the pros and cons are just a click away.

Facebook pages set up by anti-dam group provide a lot of information about how the project would damage the environment, detailing which wild animals will be affected and how much forested land will have to be cleared, versus the amount of water that will be stored.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dr.plodprasop) is getting lots of anti-dam comments. Plodprasop is pushing for the Mae Wong Dam, which is part of the government's Bt350-billion water- and flood-management scheme.

In addition to this, the 388-kilometre, 12-day march led by Seub Nakhasathien Foundation secretary-general Sasin Chalermlarp has come to an end, but it has given people a lot to talk about. The march will be broadcast on Modernine TV channel's "Kon Kon Kon" show tonight and a teaser can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cy_0vUXpWI.

Apart from the general public, several influential people have joined Sasin in his fight against the Mae Wong Dam. They include famous photographer Teerapab Lohitkun and Vanchai Tantivitayapitak, former deputy managing director of Thai PBS and a Sriburapha Award winner.

Debates will continue as the floods keep expanding, but luckily, both sides have agreed to sit down and discuss the issue sensibly. Sasin has been invited to have a chat with Plodprasop on the matter in Government House next week.

Fortunately, in this day and age of the social media, we will be able to keep up with what happens next in real time.


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