Regional haze pollution may diminish this year

CHERNG TALAY: In one of his first official acts as Governor, Dr Preecha Ruangjan represented the province at a multinational meeting aimed at reducing forest fires and haze in the region.

The gathering, the Sixth Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution, was hosted at the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Resort on October 22.

The ASEAN Specialized Meteorological Center (ASMC) reported that with rainfall expected to be normal or above normal for the rest of the year and in early 2009, excessive haze is unlikely.

Nevertheless, the Ministers agreed that relevant national agencies should remain vigilant, taking all necessary proactive measures to prevent and mitigate the widespread land and forest fires that cause the annual haze.

Attending the event were environment ministers, or their representatives, from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The opening address was given by Nisakorn Kositratna, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. She was standing in for Natural Resources and Environment Minister Anongwan Thepsuthin, who also heads the Matchimathipataya Party, one of three coalition parties facing possible dissolution following fraud convictions of executive members in the last general election.

In the end, the ministers agreed that ASMC will organize a workshop in Singapore early in 2009, when experts will discuss ways of improving regional forecasting of atmospheric haze, such as through use of computer modeling.

The ministers commended Indonesia’s efforts in implementing its anti-haze action plan, but asked that further action be taken to decrease the rate of deforestation in Sumatra, among other measures.

They also noted that while there has been an increase of “hotspot activities” in the region, there was no significant corresponding increase in trans-boundary haze. This was attributed to better fire suppression and wetter than normal weather conditions.

For the complete official findings of the event click here.

The ministers are scheduled to meet again in April/May 2009 in Brunei.

Phuket News

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