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Air Pollution

Ministry works towards ending sugarcane burning in three years

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Ministry works towards ending sugarcane burning in three years | The Thaiger

The Ministry of Industry is proposing to the Thai Cabinet a plan to end sugarcane farmers’ annual burn-off of their plantations before harvesting. The practice is being largely blamed for the north’s smog problems.

But they are recommending a three year moratorium before completely stamping out the annual agri-burning.

Thai PBS reports that the plan will be incorporated into a ministerial regulation to be enforceable during the 2019-20 sugarcane crop year and seeks to force sugar mills to accept only 30% of burned sugarcane for milling, with a further reduction to 20% for the 2020-21 crop year and to no more than five percent for the third crop year.

The plan doesn’t address how there can be any improvement in the north’s smoke problems for the next three seasons.

Thai sugarcane farmers prefer burning sugarcane to make it easier to cut and to save labour costs.  However, the burned sugarcane is of lower quality and has reduced sweetness. Burning of sugarcane has also been blamed for creating smog in some provinces containing large sugarcane plantations, such as Khon Kaen in Thailand’s north-east.

In order to encourage farmers to switch to the use of machinery, which is more costly, the Industry Ministry will also propose the provision of cheap loans to allow the purchase of new machinery. It is estimated this could amount to six billion baht over a three year period. Farmer’s cooperatives and community enterprises will be encouraged to invest in cane-cutting machinery to move over to more environmentally sustainable practices.

The ministry also aims to make Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Chaiyaphum, Loei and Uttradit provinces free from sugarcane burning as of this year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS



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Air Pollution

Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sunshine International Retirement Residence & Serviced Apartment, Hua Hin

Sunshine International, Thailand’s leading brand of retirement residences says that their project which was due to be constructed near Chiang Mai’s city centre has now been cancelled.

Sunshine International, a retirement property that included around the clock medical facilities, on site doctors and nurses, and state of the art facilities, was due to be built on a five rai site in central Chiang Mai.

But ThaiVisa reports that the company says, due to the problems the city is experiencing with poor air quality, smog and pollution, it has been forced to cancel the Sunshine International Retirement Residences project.

Andrew Stocks of Sunshine International said they had an increase in people contacting them saying they have been forced to leave Chiang Mai because of the smog.

He said that due to the negative impact the project is currently not viable.

Andrew said his company will now focus on its other retirement projects located in Hua Hin, as well as a soon to be announced project in Phuket. He said Sunshine International would consider returning to Chiang Mai again if the smog situation improved.

Andrew called on the authorities to step in to help protect the livelihoods of local people who rely on income generated by the tourism industry in the region.

SOURCE: ThaiVisa.com

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Air Pollution

New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army

The Thaiger & The Nation

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New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army | The Thaiger
by Nathawat Laping 

Some 1,000 combined professional and volunteer firefighters are battling a major forest fire in the mountainous area overlapping Chiang Mai’s Muang and Mae Chan districts.

The fire started on Sunday night in the Doi Jorakhe area of Tambon Tha Sud in Muang before spreading to Tambon Pa Teung in Mae Chan, a densely populated area and home to Mae Chan Hospital and temples.

As of this morning the fire had already devastated 1,000 rai of forestland and nearby plantations.

Mae Chan disrict chief Wandee Ratchomphu led the efforts by 800 state officials and volunteers to put out the fire and prevent it from reaching communities or more forestland in Mae Fah Luang district. A special coordination centre was set up at Wat Pateung to dispatch firefighters to the affected areas by first light, attempts to put out the flames in the heavily wooded mountainous area during the night considered dangerous.

Third Army Region deputy commander Major Buncha Duriyapan was also on the scene to help supervise soldiers joining the fire-fighting efforts. The Army brought in a helicopter to provide support to the Protected Area Regional Office 15’s chopper being used to carry water from the three-metre-deep Tham Sua reservior to douse the flames in hard-to-reach spots.

Buncha also ordered related agencies, especially the police and army, to investigate and identify the person(s) who started this massive fire, saying this was “a strange and unprecedented situation when wildfires erupted all over the province’s mountainous areas simultaneously”.

He said he was convinced that this was a case of arson and not a freak natural incident like a lightening strike.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system, as of yesterday morning, identified 521 hot spots in the North. Chiang Rai led the pack with 291 hotspots, followed by Nan (57), Lampang (46), Phayao (46), Chiang Mai (44), Tak (15), Mae Hong Son (14), Phrae (6) and Lamphun (2).

New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Thailand still in the world’s Top 14 for TB cases

The Thaiger

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Thailand still in the world’s Top 14 for TB cases | The Thaiger

Thailand is struggling with tuberculosis, and remains in the list of the world’s 14 worst hit countries.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Presently, one-quarter of the world’s population is thought to be infected with TB, with more than 95% of the cases occurring in developing countries.

Arth Nana, executive committee chairman of the Anti-TB Association, says Thailand needs to do away with TB before 2021. In 2017 the Disease Control Department put in place a five year goal to rid Thailand of the TB plague. The World Health Organsation has set its own goal to reduce the number of TB patients to fewer than 10 in 100,000 by 2035.

“We are one of the 14 worst countries hit by this severely infectious disease which has spread across 200 countries, said Arth.

But with three years to go, so far Thailand has made little inroads into tackling the spread and growth of the TB problem. In Bangkok new cases of the disease are on the rise, much of this due to the influx of migrant workers.

The high number of drug-resistant cases was among the factors that put Thailand in the pool of 14 worst-hit countries for TB ranked by the World Health Organisation.

According to the Bangkok Post, Dr Wongwat Lewlak, deputy chief of City Hall’s Health Department, blames our “hectic and stressful lifestyles in the crowded city” for making people neglect their health.

“The need to earn a living means many patients are too busy to remember those appointments with doctors or they decide to stop taking the drugs as soon as they start to feel better.”

Thailand still in the world's Top 14 for TB cases | News by The Thaiger

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