Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has signed air quality bill and has returned it to parliament after vising in Chiang Mai province where the PM2.5 air quality problem has hit world records.
The cabinet approved the government’s air cleanliness bill on Tuesday, following a public hearing and review by the Council of State. The draft, together with two other legislation, will serve as the foundation for legislative talks in Parliament.
The bill outlined short-, medium-, and long-term solutions to the PM2.5 problem, with the goal of ensuring clean air for public safety.
Some elements in the government-sponsored law may violate the people’s constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties.
The logic for the implementation of such laws is to address air pollution at its source and prevent the problem from spreading in a way that endangers the environment and public safety.
Criminal Charges for Violators
The bill also aims to develop air quality assessment, monitoring, and early warning systems, as well as criminal and civil liabilities for violators, who, if convicted, could face up to a year in prison, a fine of 100,000 baht, and a daily fine of up to 10,000 baht until the pollution problem is resolved.
Owners of property or factories outside Thai territory who produce air pollution in the country may face a two-million-baht penalties plus a one-million-baht fine per day if convicted.
The haze problem in Northern Thailand has been a growing concern, particularly in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The region has been facing severe air pollution due to a combination of factors, including agricultural burning, vehicle emissions, and industrial activities. This has led to hazardous levels of smog and PM 2.5 particles in the air, posing serious health risks to the local population and causing environmental damage.
The haze crisis in Northern Thailand, especially in Chiang Rai, has been a recurring issue during the dry season from February to May. The burning of agricultural fields, particularly for crop residue management, contributes significantly to the air pollution. Additionally, vehicle emissions and industrial activities further exacerbate the problem, leading to the formation of a thick haze that envelops the region.
Understanding the Haze Crisis in Northern Thailand
The hazardous levels of smog and PM 2.5 particles in the air have detrimental effects on public health. Respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, and other health complications have been on the rise due to prolonged exposure to the polluted air. Moreover, the environmental impact of the haze crisis is evident in the damage caused to local ecosystems, including forests, rivers, and wildlife.
Addressing the haze problem in Northern Thailand, particularly in Chiang Rai, requires comprehensive policies and sustainable solutions. The current policy regime on burning and haze pollution has been characterized as command-and-control and highly regulatory. However, there is a growing demand from citizens for sustainable solutions to combat the crisis and protect the environment and public health.
Efforts to mitigate the haze problem in Northern Thailand must involve a multi-faceted approach that includes stricter regulations on agricultural burning, promotion of cleaner technologies for farming practices, and initiatives to reduce vehicle emissions. Additionally, public awareness campaigns and community involvement are crucial for fostering a sense of collective responsibility in addressing the crisis.
In conclusion, the haze problem in Northern Thailand, with a specific focus on Chiang Rai, demands urgent attention and concerted efforts from stakeholders at local, national, and international levels. By implementing sustainable solutions and policies, it is possible to alleviate the impact of air pollution, safeguard public health, and preserve the environment for future generations.