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Ministry works towards ending sugarcane burning in three years

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

Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO

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Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Air quality around Bangkok this morning is awful. Partly due to the lack of wind to blow the smog out of the area. To the south of Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon, the air quality is even worse with visibility on the ground cut to less than a kilometre. You would be well advised to reduce you activities outside on a day of high air pollution in the capital. The rating by airvisual.com is ‘unhealthy’.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Readings around the inner city vary between 190 – 220. Areas to the east, including around Suvarnabhumi Airport, are higher.

A lot of the smog and smoke is flowing down from the north and north east where plantation fires rage, mostly unenforced, this time of the year, from December to May. Farmers have been told, repeatedly, to avoid buying off the waste after harvests of corn, rice and sugar cane but officials have been disinclined to enforce the laws. Many of the farmers have long-term contracts with some of Thailand’s leading agri-business conglomerates.

Bangkok and the central region can expect many more months, especially as the temperatures rise throughout February, March and April and the winds remain low as the north-easterly monsoon weakens.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: View across the Bangkok skyline from Sathorn this morning.

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Air Pollution

Bangkok enveloped in bad smog Friday

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Bangkok enveloped in bad smog Friday | The Thaiger

Get out the anti-pollution masks and turn on the air purifier, air pollution in Bangkok is at unhealthy levels. 64 locations in Bangkok were reported with high levels of the air pollutant PM2.5, according to the Pollution Control Department.

As a cold weather front in China weakens, air circulation is also slowing down, causing dust to accumulate and drop to a lower altitude, according to the director-general of the Pollution Control Department. A north east monsoonal airflow blows a lot of the smoke from burn-offs and agricultural activity in Thailand’s north, south and south westerly.

Bangkok is just in the flow of the winds from up north. Drivers are advised not to keep the vehicle’s engines running while parked. Farmers are also asked not to burn farm wastes in open fields.

Everyone should reduce outdoor activities, he says. 64 areas in Bangkok recorded the dust particles reaching unhealthy levels. The highest PM 2.5 levels were reported in Amphoe Muang of Samut Sakhon and were classified as “very unhealthy.”

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Air Pollution

Air pollution at “unhealthy levels” in 64 areas in Bangkok

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Air pollution at “unhealthy levels” in 64 areas in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Get out the anti-pollution masks and turn on the air purifier, air pollution in Bangkok is at unhealthy levels. 64 locations in Bangkok have reported high levels of the air pollutant PM2.5, according to the Pollution Control Department. People are advised to avoid outdoor activities.

As a cold weather front in China weakens, air circulation is also slowing down, causing dust to accumulate and drop to a lower altitude, according to the director-general of the Pollution Control Department.

Drivers are advised not to keep the vehicle’s engines running while parked. Farmers are also asked not to burn farm wastes in open fields. Everyone should reduce outdoor activities, he says.

64 areas in Bangkok recorded the dust particles reaching unhealthy levels. The highest PM 2.5 levels were reported in Amphoe Muang of Samut Sakhon and were classified as “very unhealthy.”

Air pollution at

 

As of this morning, Bangkok ranked 20th on the list of cities with worst air quality, according to IQAir, but this is subject to change as the list is updated frequently and air conditions continuously fluctuate.

SOURCES: Bangkok Biz News | Thai PBS World | IQAir

 

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