PM talks pollution with UN as blazes rage

PM talks pollution with UN as blazes rage

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin revealed that he had proposed establishing pollution mitigation funds with the United Nations (UN) at a recent meeting.

He said after the cabinet briefing on Tuesday that he had raised the idea with Amina J Mohammed, the UN's deputy secretary-general, during their conversations on sustainable development.

The fund is expected to offer financial support to lower-income countries to mitigate against pollution, especially fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5).

Mr Srettha shared with Ms Mohammed that pollution problems are linked to the global economy and should not be considered domestic problems.

He added that in Thailand, pollution worsens when locals and neighbouring countries burn their agricultural plantations.

Part of the problem is a lack of money to buy herbicides due to the downturn in the economic situation.

He said that the fund will help solve the country's environmental problems and support national development.

Ms Mohammed praised the Thai government for the plan, said the premier.

Regarding the pollution situation on Tuesday, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda) at 8am reported that 27 provinces experienced orange-level pollution that exceeded the safe threshold of 37.5 microgrammes per cubic metre the previous day.

Nakhon Phanom ranked the worst at 74.8 µg/m³, followed by Amnat Charoen (72.4), Nong Khai (69.6), Mukdaharn (66.6), and Bueng Kan (64).

In Nan, the pollution level has exceeded that threshold for at least 24 days due to continuous wildfires in three districts around Si Nan National Park.

The high levels of pollution led to smog covering the province, with the pollution level at 41.7-51.5 µg/m³ at the measuring points. At least 1,000 rai of the forest inside the national park in Wiang Sa, Na Noi, and Na Muen districts was reportedly damaged.

The fires stemmed partially from agricultural activities, including preparing land for plantation.

Theraphol Thongmeekhao, director-general of the Nan-Phrae Wildfire Control Promotion Centre, said that controlling widespread fires is difficult due to the huge forest area and lack of manpower to fight the blazes.

The local authority has banned any burning in the province from March 15 to April 30, with legal proceedings threatened against those who violate them, said Governor Chainarong Wongyai.

Bangkok, however, was reported to have had relatively mild pollution on Monday, with the pollution levels reaching just 9.5–25.8 µg/m³, the city's Air Quality Information Centre reported.

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