Neighbouring countries to get devices to check air-quality

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Neighbouring-countries-to-get-devices-to-check-air-30284382.html

AIR POLLUTION

After installing device in laos, thailand plans to also include Myanmar, Cambodia

THAILAND HAS installed devices for air-quality checks in Laos, and will make similar installations in Myanmar and Cambodia in a bid to fight the threat of smog.

Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Wijarn Simachaya disclosed yesterday that the installation in Vientiane had already been completed.

“Next year, we will install similar devices in the two other neighbouring countries,” he said.

Because wind can blow unhealthy smoke from one country to another, smog has been a shared threat in the region. Hotpots in nearby countries can affect Thailand. “We have already written to the Asean secretary-general, asking for help in getting Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia to reduce their hotpots,” Wijarn said.

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Agricultural fires are widely blamed for the worsening haze problem in the Asean region. As of Tuesday night, the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre has reported scattered hotspots in Myanmar and isolated hotspots in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.

Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Mongkhon Suksai said that as long as neighbouring countries were full of hotspots, Thailand would be affected. “Cross-border smog means that even if there is not a single hotspot in Thailand, many Thai provinces will still struggle with the haze,” he said. A smog crisis threatens people’s health and also economy. Reduced visibility affects travelling, sometimes causing flight cancellations. Many northern provinces of Thailand are popular destinations for tourists, and tourism generates a sizeable income for the locals.

Since late 2015, government agencies, local administrative bodies, people and the private sector have joined hands in tackling the smog problem. They have embraced the so-called Mae Chaem model, as efforts in Chiang Mai‘s Mae Chaem district have proved effective in significantly curbing smog-causing hotspots. During the recent 60-day ban on agricultural fires in the country’s North, the number of hotspots in Mae Chaem reduced by more than 80 per cent. This is even though most of Mae Chaem’s area are corn plantations. Local farmers usually rely on fires to clear land for farming.

At present, local authorities have allowed local farmers to light fires zone by zone, based on the wind direction, to ensure that hotspots will have a minimum impact.

Air-quality tests showed the amount of small dust particles measuring no more than 10 microns diameter (PM10) peaked in Mae Chaem district – reaching 192 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

However, the situation has improved as test results showed air pollution has eased in Upper North and the overall situation is better than last year, Athapol Charoenshunsa, who heads the Forest Protection and Fire Control Bureau, said.

He added that the number of hotspots in the zone had reduced from 27,000 in the first three months of 2015 to just 25,000 between January and yesterday this year.

 

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