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Friday, May 24, 2024

Northern Provinces Ordered to Stop Burning Activity to Address PM2.5 Pollution

The National Environment Board (NEB) has supported stronger measures to address air pollution caused by PM2.5, ordering all 17 provinces in the North to suspend burning operations until the end of April.

According to Center for Air Pollution Mitigation Spokesman Siwaporn Rugsiyanon, the number of hotspots in the country climbed to 56,439 points from January to March, with 31,719 in the North, of which 80% were on forest area and 15% in farming zones.

To solve the issue, the NEB has recommended a zero-burning policy in both forest and agricultural zones throughout the 17 northern provinces. If the situation worsens, the government may consider closing up to 92 forest parks managed by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Protection.

Additional efforts include forbidding the purchase of sugar cane grown using burning methods, limiting the number and length of vehicles entering metropolitan areas, artificial rainmaking, creating PM2.5-free zones, and minimizing the number of hotspots in each forest zone.

In addition to the NEB’s plan to establish a “pollution clinic” in high-risk areas, the Ministries of Industry and Agriculture and Cooperatives will collaborate to enforce a zero-burning policy in farming zones, including lower import taxes on farming engines to promote alternatives to burning activities.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Surat Bualert, Dean of the Faculty of Environment at Kasetsart University, previously said that the major source of PM2.5 in Bangkok is burning operations outside the city. He emphasized the significance of regulating agricultural operations in order to enhance Bangkok’s air quality.

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