Call for Thailand to Cease Crop Burning Following Surge in Air Pollution

The head of a prominent agricultural organization emphasized the necessity for Thailand to prohibit the practice of stubble burning among farmers in order to enhance air quality. This statement was made on Monday, following a surge in hazardous pollution that led to millions of people requiring medical treatment.

Thailand experienced severe air quality issues earlier in the year, with both Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai ranking among the world’s most polluted cities on certain days in April. Authorities urged residents to remain indoors and work remotely as concentrations of the extremely fine PM2.5 particles, capable of entering the bloodstream, reached unsafe levels.

One of the primary sources of these harmful particles is the practice of farmers burning stubble to prepare their land for the next crop, particularly during the peak “burning season” between December and April. The president of the Thai Feed Mill Association (TFMA), Pornsil Patcharintanakul, who operates under the commerce ministry, called for an immediate cessation of this practice.

Patcharintanakul urged the new Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, to take swift action, citing the urgency of the matter. This year, over two million people in Thailand sought medical treatment for health issues related to air pollution.

He further recommended that Thailand adhere to international agricultural guidelines that prohibit stubble burning and suggested that a realistic timeframe for implementing this ban would be three years. This call comes as the European Union begins to enforce its “Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” (CBAM), which charges for emissions associated with the production of imported goods.

Srettha Thavisin’s government has stated that addressing PM2.5 pollution is among its top priorities, although it has not yet disclosed specific details regarding its plans to address this issue.

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