Neighbours urged to tackle haze crisis
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Neighbours urged to tackle haze crisis

Myanmar to address man-made blazes

Fire trucks spray water to fight smoke haze in the centre of Chiang Rai province late last month. (Photo: Public Relations Department)
Fire trucks spray water to fight smoke haze in the centre of Chiang Rai province late last month. (Photo: Public Relations Department)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is attempting to accelerate regional efforts to contain transboundary haze pollution, which is affecting upper Thailand badly, ministry spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said on Saturday.

"Sustainable efforts to curb transboundary haze pollution require cooperation from all sides, namely the public, private, agricultural, industrial and civil sectors," said Ms Kanchana.

The haze has long been a challenge which this region has attempted to overcome, she said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai has held talks with his counterparts in neighbouring countries including Myanmar over concerns about man-made wildfires in these countries which are said to be exacerbating the problem and its impact on Thailand, she said.

Mr Don has also assigned the Thai ambassador to Myanmar to seek further talks on the matter with Myanmar's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, she said.

Myanmar appears happy to cooperate with Thailand and others in the region and is speeding up its efforts to cope with its wildfire situation, she said.

The environment ministry has also sent a letter to its counterparts in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, asking for more help, especially during the dry season when they cause the region's transboundary haze pollution to intensify, she said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Mr Don have also called on Kao Kim Hourn, the Asean secretary-general, to support Thailand's effort to enhance regional cooperation under the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which has existed since 2003, she said.

Dr Kao, who visited Thailand from Wednesday until Saturday, assured Gen Prayut and Mr Don he is willing to help push the issue, she said.

Aside from bilateral talks with neighbouring countries, the ministry has also sought cooperation in fighting transboundary haze pollution through several other regional mechanisms, she said.

Most recently, the transboundary haze situation was discussed at an informal meeting of Asean senior officials on Feb 28 in Indonesia, she said.

The meeting was told that Asean aims to set up an Asean Co-ordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control later this year, she said.

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