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Govt urges people to refrain from drinking alcohol during Buddhist Lent

The government is calling on Thai people nationwide to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages during the Buddhist Lent period.

Government Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government is encouraging the Thais to refrain from or even quit drinking alcohol during the Buddhist Lent and the National No-Alcohol Day.

He said the government is aiming to solve unlicensed alcohol distilleries, review the taxation and reassess the environmental impact with a focus on community-based distilleries where unlabeled alcoholic beverages might be produced and possibly be harmful to consumers.

The premier has expressed concerns over the health of alcoholic drinkers during holidays while the consumption of low-quality moonshines might possibly cause fatalities.

The Ministry of Interior is yet to keep controls of the production standards at local distilleries and promote consumption safety without limiting the distilling capacity which might otherwise adversely affect the distillers.

The government spokesman added that the pricing mechanism for the locally-distilled alcohols and an increase in their excise tax would prompt the distillers to raise the prices of their products or to produce illegal moonshines which might be contained in plastic bottles. Substandard distilleries are known to have released waste water only to negatively affect the local environment.

He quoted a report as saying 220 local distilleries out of a total of about 2,900 nationwide are on the watch list, most of which located in the northern region. The government has instructed provincial governors to lead a campaign against alcoholic drinks such as that conducted in Payao province where the number of community distilleries has been reduced from 270 in 2004 to 200 in 2015.




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