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A cure for haze?

From late January to March, farmers will start clearing farmland by burning farm waste to prepare the land for the new harvesting season, which starts in May. This year, however, a new "biomass shedder" (inset) will give some farmers a clean alternative for dealing with their waste. Photos courtesy of Rotary Club Lampang

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Finally, farmers may have a practical alternative to burning their agricultural waste, a major cause of seasonal haze which typically begins in late January.

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This is an excerpt from a longer story in today's Lifestyle section. You can read the full story here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/social-and-lifestyle/832632/a-chance-of-less-haze

A chance of less haze?


Despite the cool weather, the period between late January to March is not a pleasant time for villagers in Lampang and the other northern provinces. It is the time that haze – caused by the swathes of smoke from forest fires and the burning of agricultural waste – blankets the region.

Haze is pollution, irritation, and also is severely damaging to health. Last year, schools in several northern provinces needed to close temporarily and hospitals saw a rise in patients with respiratory problems – 55,000  in Chiang Mai alone. Haze also hurts tourism and related-businesses, while flights to Chiang Mai sometimes faced delays and even cancellation due to poor visibility.

The solution to the haze problem is easier said than done. Forcing farmers to stop clearing their land also means stopping them from starting the new growing season. Hence, all residents can do really is brace themselves for the haze with protective masks or, if possible, move away from the area temporarily.

But for Boonkoom Boonyasopath, energy engineer and member of the board of the Rotary Club Lampang, the solution may lie in a machine called the "Biomass Shredder", which helps farmers get rid of farm waste without having to burn it.

Boonkoom Boonyasopath the energy engineer and board member of Rotary Club Lampang who invented the 'biomass shredder' to reduce open burning in farm area.

"Like you and I, farmers do not want to burn agricultural waste because they too need to inhale the smoke. But they don't have a choice," said Boonkoom, who's also a founder of BKE Combustion Controls, a company that exports industrial combustion machines.

"Disposing farm waste by moving it means huge logistic costs. So the machine has been conceived to remove this barrier and to help farmers deal with waste efficiently and in an environmentally-friendly way."

Choked with smoke, Boonkoom last year walked around in his factory workshop and cranked up some tools. And he came up with the shredding machine.

Made up of a motor and 50 thick, sharp blades, the machine – which costs around 100,000 baht to make – can be put on a pickup truck and put on any piece of farm land or in a mountainous forest.

"I am an energy engineer by profession. Seeing farm waste being burnt is upsetting as we know it can be reused as fuel and fertilisers."

He believes the machine can change the behaviour of farmers. "Just imagine if every farming community in the north was using this machine. It would reduce the large-scale open-air burning, with the farm waste being converted into organic fertilisers or soil nourishers," says Boonkoom, who decided not to patent the machine and open up the technology for any individuals or organisations to develop further.

The machine is funded by a 181,000 baht donation from the Rotary Club Lampang, whose mission is to help the province solve the haze problem.

"The technology is not innovative at all. I just made the machine portable and practical to use in small farms," said Boonkoom.

The Biomass Shredder, which weighs only 120 kilogrammes, can shred three tonnes of agricultural waste per day and costs only 100 baht for diesel fuel. That is much more affordable and attractive compared to the cost of hauling waste from farms to sell to biomass energy plants, or disposing it outside. It costs at least 2,000 baht a trip to hire a 10-tonne truck to dispose four tonnes of farm waste.

The Rotary Club Lampang is planning to donate two machines to nearby communities this weekend.

The club is holding an event on Jan 24 at Wat Tah Kua Temple in Muang district to hand out the machines to the communities.

Learn from listening

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affordable : not expensive - ไม่แพง

agricultural (adj): of the science or practice of farming - ที่เกี่ยวกับเกษตรกรรม

attractive : having features or qualities that make something seem interesting and worth having - น่าดึงดูด

barrier (noun): anything that prevents people from doing something - อุปสรรค

behaviour : the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว

biomass : natural materials from living or recently dead plants, trees and animals, used as fuel and in industrial production, especially in the generation of electricity - มวลชีวภาพ

blade : the thin sharp part of a knife, tool, or weapon that cuts things - ใบมีด

blanket (verb): to cover something completely - ปกคลุม

board : a group of people who have the responsibility of managing important business or government activities - คณะกรรมการ

brace : to get ready for something unpleasant - เตรียม

cancellation : a decision to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - การยกเลิก

choice (noun): something that you can choose; an act of choosing between two or more possibilities - ทางเลือก, การเลือก

choke : to (cause someone to) stop breathing because something is blocking your throat - ทำให้หายใจไม่ออก

combustion (noun): the process of burning (take place inside the engine of a car which is called an "internal combustion engine" - การเผาไหม้

community : the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

conceive : to form an idea, a plan, etc. in your mind; to imagine something - มีความคิด, เกิดขึ้นในใจ

converted : changed from one form to another - เปลี่ยน โอนจากที่หนึ่งไปยังอีกที่หนึ่ง

crank up (verb): to produce something quickly -

deal with : to take action to solve a problem - จัดการปัญหา

delay (noun): causing to happen at a later time; happening at a later time than expected - การเลื่อน, ช้ากว่าปกติ

develop (verb): to gradually grow and improve something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger and successful - พัฒนา

dispose : to throw away or get rid of - ทิ้ง

donate : to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a temple, charity, school, political party, etc. - บริจาค

easier said than done (idiom): to be much more difficult to do than to talk about - พูดง่ายกว่าทำ

efficiently : done in an effective, organised way - อย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ

engineer (noun): a person whose job involves designing and building engines, machines, roads, bridges, etc. - วิศวกร

environmentally-friendly (adj): not harmful to the environment; good for the enviroment - ไม่เป็นอันตรายต่อสิ่งแวดล้อม

export : the selling and transporting of goods to another country - สินค้าออก, การส่งสินค้าออกไปต่างประเทศ

fertiliser : a natural or chemical substance which is spread on the land or given to plants, to make plants grow well - ปุ๋ย

founder (noun): a person who establishes an institution, business, or organisation - ผู้ก่อตั้ง

fuel : any material that produces heat or power, usually when it is burnt - เชื้อเพลิง

funded : given money for a particular purpose - ได้รับเงินสนับสนุน

get rid of : to remove something that is causing a problem; to throw something away - กำจัดหรือขจัดให้หมดไป

haze : water, smoke or dust in the air that makes it difficult to see clearly - หมอกควัน

hence : for this reason - ดังนั้น, เพราะฉะนั้น

imagine : to form a picture of something or someone in your mind - นึกคิด, จินตนาการ, นึกฝัน

individual : a person considered separately rather than as part of a group - บุคคล

industrial : relating to industry - เกี่ยวกับอุตสาหกรรม

inhale : to breathe in - หายใจเข้า, สูดลมหายใจ

innovative : using new methods or ideas - เกี่ยวกับการปรับปรุงใหม่, ที่เต็มไปด้วยจิตใจปฏิรูปใหม่

irritation : a feeling of annoyance or dissatisfaction, especially because of something that continuously happens - ความขุ่นเคือง, ความหงุดหงิด

large-scale (adjective): very big -

logistic (adj): of the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organise something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment - การส่งกำลังบำรุง

mask : something that you wear to cover part or all of your face in order to hide who you are, for protection or for decoration - หน้ากาก, เครื่องปิดหน้า

mission : an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do - ภาระกิจ หน้าที่

nourish : to give a person, animal, or plant the food and care that they need to live, grow, and be healthy - บำรุงเลี้ยง

organic (adjective): produced or practised without using artificial chemicals - (เกษตรกรรม)เชิงชีวภาพ

patent (verb): to obtain a patent (an official document that gives someone who has invented something the legal right to make or sell that invention) for an invention or a process - จดสิทธิบัตร, ได้รับสิทธิบัตร

patients (noun): people who are receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้

pickup truck (noun): a vehicle with low sides and no roof at the back used, for example, by farmers - รถพิกอัป, รถกระบะ

plant : a factory; a factory that produces power or processes chemicals, etc. - โรงงาน

pleasant (adj): enjoyable, pleasing or attractive - น่าสบาย, น่าอยู่

portable : easy to carry or move, so that you can use it in different places - หิ้วได้, พกพาได้

practical : suitable for the situation in which something is used - ที่ขึ้นอยู่กับความเป็นจริง

profession : a type of job that needs special training or skill, especially one that needs a high level of education - อาชีพ

protective : providing or intended to provide protection - ซึ่งปกป้อง

reduce : to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

remove (verb): to take something away - เอาออก

residents : people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่

respiratory : involving breathing - ระบบทางเดินหายใจ

reuse (verb): to use again; to recycle - นำกลับมาใช้ใหม่

severely : very seriously - อย่างรุนแรง

sharp (adj): having a fine edge or point, especially of something that can cut or make a hole in something - คม, แหลมคม

shred : to cut or tear something into small pieces - ตัดหรือฉีกเป็นชิ้นๆ

shredder (noun): a machine that tears something into small pieces - เครื่องฉีก

soil : the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow - ดิน

solution (noun): one way to solve a problem - วิธีแก้ปัญหา

swath (noun): a large strip or area of something - แถบ, แถว, แนว

temporarily : for a limited period of time - ชั่วคราว

upsetting (noun): making you feel unhappy, anxious or annoyed - วุ่น, ว้าวุ่นใจ, ยุ่งยากใจ

visibility : how clearly objects can be seen, or how far you can see clearly, usually because of the weather conditions - ทัศนวิสัย


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