Appeal to limit Chinese New Year’s paper burning to curb pollution

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A pressing call to the public has been made by the Pollution Control Department (PCD), appealing for a reduction in the burning of paper offerings and incense during the Chinese New Year celebrations. This plea is part of a broader initiative to manage the increasing levels of ultra-fine PM2.5 pollutants during the season.

The traditional burning of gold and silver joss sticks is a widely practised ritual to honour ancestors and signify the commencement of the new year.

PCD Director-General Preeyaporn Suwanaged voiced concern over the customary practice yesterday, pointing out that it contributes significantly to the elevation of air pollution levels during the holiday period. This silent peril poses serious health risks, with overexposure to PM2.5 pollutants leading to symptoms such as eye irritation, nasal congestion, frequent coughing, and a sore throat, reported Bangkok Post.

Environment Minister Police General Phatcharavat Wongsuwan is deeply concerned about the detrimental effects of air pollution on public health, and as a result, Preeyaporn is urging the use of electric incense sticks as an alternative. The PCD director-general also recommends the use of environment-friendly joss sticks and advises against burning incense and other paper offerings in areas with poor ventilation.

In a parallel effort, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has put preventive measures in place, setting up monitoring sites near areas prone to fires such as Chinese shrines and densely populated communities. The assistant secretary to the Bangkok governor and BMA spokesman, Aekvarunyoo Amrapala, stressed the importance of collective effort in mitigating the impact of PM2.5 particles during the Lunar New Year holiday.

“Burning paper offerings should be limited or eliminated altogether.”

Aekvarunyoo further advocated for the use of electric incense sticks and the avoidance of burning papers to decrease dust pollution.

There has been a consistent struggle with fine dust pollution across the capital and various other provinces since Thailand entered the cool season. As of yesterday, elevated levels of fine dust were recorded in 48 provinces, but notably, Bangkok was not among them.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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