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Air Pollution

Government claims they’re serious about northern air pollution

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s northern provinces, particularly Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, suffer mightily during the annual plantation burning season, infamously known as “smoky season,” when farmers there and in neighbouring Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia burn their fields in preparation for the next harvest. The season lasts from January to April, and during that time Chiang Mai often rates as having the worst air quality in the world. But now the government says it’s taking air pollution seriously and aims to clean up the North.

Chiang Mai’s air quality problems have been a consistent issue, since the northern Thai city was declared ‘most polluted city in the world’ on March 10, according AirVisual.com. The city has ‘won’ the accolade on more than 10 days this year. Adding to the problem, in March and April this year were the forest fires challenging local authorities in the mountains around the city.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat expressed gratitude to the Chiang Mai Breath Council for its concern on smog in the North and gave assurances the government is earnest about solving the problem. Responding to the council’s demand for successful resolution she said the council makes a huge contribution by monitoring air pollution for the sake of public health.

“The government has tried to solve the problem and assigned local authorities to implement relevant measures. It is never distracted from the effort, despite the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The government is grateful for the Chiang Mai Breath Council’s campaigns for clean air. However, the problem cannot be solved by a single organisation. All parties must join forces. I believe that solutions will improve from now on.”

The government spokeswoman also said that Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon would visit Chiang Mai province today to follow up on smog solutions.

“The government understands that it may not be impossible for provincial and regional parties to solve the issue by themselves. We believe that if all parties join hands and watch out for wildfires, which are at the root of the problem and cause of the fine dust, air pollution will be relieved eventually.”

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Arseniy Kamyshev

    Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    I want to believe. But I can not.

  2. Avatar

    Eva Brooks

    Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Start by making illegal with heavy fines and gaol time, the burning of sugarcane farms. Its often done @ night to avoid detection.

  3. Avatar

    Godless Nihilist

    Friday, May 22, 2020 at 5:29 am

    Threatening farmers without offering solutions is pointless. Education to alternative methods of tillage and land management need to be put in place. Decreased burning usually leads to an increase in chemical pest control so one is exchanging air pollution for water pollution if alternatives are not handled correctly. Burning needs to be controlled as it will be near impossible to totally eliminate, nor is total elimination beneficial as seen in the lead up to the California wildfires. Having said all this, Northern Thailand can and must do better for its citizens.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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