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Thick Haze from Agricultural Fires in Thailand

18.4N 98.4E

April 9th, 2013 Category: Fires

Thailand and Myanmar – April 8th, 2013

Agricultural fires burning across Thailand create a thick haze over the country and its neighbors, including Myanmar. The Thai government is stepping up efforts to fight forest fires and haze pollution by applying stricter law enforcement, especially during the critical period from January to April. Haze pollution can cause such health hazards as respiratory problems and heart, eye, and skin diseases.

The measures in 2013 have been switched from the focus on “burning control” to “no burning.” The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set the period from 21 January to 10 April 2013 to prohibit burning in all forest areas. Campaigns have also been launched to encourage local people to stop all kinds of burning in the forest. Thailand will seek cooperation from Laos and Myanmar in controlling forest fires along border areas.

The Department of Land Development is launching a campaign for agricultural leftovers to be plowed under, instead of being burned. The campaign is a new measure to combat the smoke haze problem, while increasing soil fertility. Efforts will be made to provide farmers with knowledge about how to turn weed into biogas and electricity, so that it will not be burned and create haze pollution.

Apart from hot dry weather, the burning of solid waste and agricultural materials in open areas has been cited as a major cause of forest fires. Another cause involves the slash-and-burn farming technique employed by farmers to clear land in forested areas (click here for more information).

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