Regime seeks neighbours' help on smog

Regime seeks neighbours' help on smog

Laos, Myanmar sent letters on North crisis

A helicopter airlifts water to fight bush fires in Salawin National Park in Mae Hong Son. Helicopters have made over 100 trips to drop water. Photo courtesy of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife And Plant Conservation
A helicopter airlifts water to fight bush fires in Salawin National Park in Mae Hong Son. Helicopters have made over 100 trips to drop water. Photo courtesy of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife And Plant Conservation

The government has sought cooperation from Myanmar and Laos to help mitigate haze, which is wreaking havoc in the North, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Gen Prayut said the bush fires and haze in the northern provinces have diminished, though the situation also depends on neighbouring countries.

"I yesterday wrote to Laos and Myanmar asking them to help us tackle these problems," said Gen Prayut.

He said Thai officials on the ground are also working with their Myanmar counterparts to deal with the issue, including sharing equipment to douse fires.

Gen Prayut also called on firefighters to be cautious about combatting bush fires. In the areas where fires are raging, they should consider making buffer zones to defend wildlife, he noted.

"As for those who start the fires, they must face prosecution as they violated the law," said Gen Prayut.

According to the premier, the government has devised several measures to combat haze, including seeking cooperation from companies to refrain from buying crops from farmers who encroach on forest land or conduct inappropriate farming practices.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the number of bush fires in the nine northern provinces dropped from almost 2,000 on April 2 to around 300 on Tuesday.

"Well, cooperation has been given by local people overall, but some residents are still setting fires in the forest, so a better understanding must be created and this may take time," said Gen Anupong.

Meanwhile, 15 tambons have joined a campaign to prepare for the impact of global warming.

Eight tambon administrative organisations (TAO) recently signed an agreement to develop a learning centre for environmental management and global warning mitigation at a tourist service centre in Chiang Rai's Thoeng district.

These TAOs are from Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Chaiyaphum, Udon Thani, Chiang Mai, Prachin Buri and Chiang Rai. Another seven TAOs, which had earlier participated in the campaign, were also present.

They formed part of a network called "Smart Camp: Smart Network: Smart Community" operating under the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth).

Somporn Chaibangyang, chairman of the network, said members were brought together to announce its determination to deal with local environmental issues and join efforts to help mitigate global warming.


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