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Haze Looms Over Chiang Rai as Burning Continues Despite 60 Day Burning Ban



Smoke caused by burning activities has been reported in the northern province of Chiang Rai.


CHIANG RAI – Despite recent warnings and a ban on all burning, there are still reports of burning activities in Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai province, causing haze along mountain ranges.

District chiefs and community leaders are now going door to door to inform the locals of the ban, which was issued on February 17th and is in effect until April 17th.

Chiang Rai governor Boonsong Techamaneesatit said the province aimed to reduce the haze problem by 30 per cent this haze season with the 60 day ban and that community leaders were ordered to create a good understanding among local people and ask them not to burn during the burning ban period.

Boonsong said if we find anyone violating the rule during this period, they will be punished by the law and that there would be a Bt3,000 cash reward for anyone who provide information pinpointing people breaking the ban.

In Phrae province, the fire ban is being enforced from February 15th to April 15th. Around 300 officers and community members of Baan Wiang sub-district are building firewalls to protect crop plantations from wildfires.

The community is also raising awareness about deforestation while encouraging its members to grow more plants along the Yom River.

The 60-day ban on burning activities was invoked in Chiang Rai and 8 other northern provinces, however enforcement of the law seems to be once again ineffective as burning continues.

Haze in Chiang Rai is expected the grow as the annual burning of fields and slash and burn practices in Myanmar and Laos continue and could be blown by the wind into Thailand.

Last year Chiang Rai province officials have met with Myanmar and Laos local authorities to control the burning in their areas three times, but difficulties in enforcing the law in some areas make it impossible to totally control the burning.

Haze in the northern region usually comes from domestic hot-spots and the trans-boundary haze from our neighboring countries. The most affected areas of the haze from abroad are in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai, where they are situated close to the border and on the downwind side.

By Thammarat Thadaphrom
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