Sugarcane growers defy burning ban

Sugarcane growers defy burning ban

A sugarcane field is engulfed in flames in Nakhon Sawan province on Sunday night as local growers try to avoid arrest by authorities who banned the cheap but polluting method of harvesting. (Photo and video by Chalit Phumruang)
A sugarcane field is engulfed in flames in Nakhon Sawan province on Sunday night as local growers try to avoid arrest by authorities who banned the cheap but polluting method of harvesting. (Photo and video by Chalit Phumruang)

NAKHON SAWAN: Local sugarcane growers in this central plains province have been seen burning their fields at night despite authorities' ban on the practice to curb smog.

Farmers say burning the fields before harvest saves money and time. Labourers prefer collecting burnt sugarcanes to fresh ones full of leaves, farmers say, and by burning the vast plantations across the province they avoid the long wait time for harvesting machines that are in short supply. 

The practice of burning the fields at night is to reduce the likelihood of intervention by authorities, who banned field burning late last year in a bid to control hazardous fine dust. On Monday morning, the Pollution Control Department reported that the quantity of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter amounted to 65 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in Nakhon Sawan over the past 24 hours. The safe limit is at 50mcg.


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