Thai farmers warned ‘stop burning waste or face arrest’
All provincial governors in Thailand have been told to stop the burning of agricultural waste in their provinces. The burning is being blamed for the current air pollution in Bangkok and its suburbs, and in several northern and central provinces.
The accumulation of PM2.5 dust in the atmosphere, mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, has been posing a health risk for the past several days, said Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
He said the poor air quality has prompted General Prawit to order all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution.
Burning waste is something farmers have done since the beginning of time and yet the government has offered no alternative solution, or even any advice, on what should be done with farm waste if it is not to be burned off.
Instead they simply throw around threats of arrest and legal action against communities already devastated by their policies.
Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravuth Silpa-archa has ordered officials of the Pollution Control Department to coordinate with those from the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to intensify efforts to reduce emissions of PM2.5 dust from vehicles and factories.
PM Office Permanent Secretary Thirapat Prayoonsit said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wants officials to enforce the law against the air polluters strictly, including diesel-fueled trucks.
Thiraphat went to an air quality checkpoint near Rim Khlong Thawee Wattana station today, to observe officials performing their duty. It was discovered that the area was congested with traffic, which is blamed for the air pollution in the area.