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Thailand Shares Its Experience with ASEAN Partners in Haze Pollution Control

4 August 2015

Thailand has shared its experience in haze pollution control in the northern region, reflecting active participation from all sectors in fighting the problem.
Permanent Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Kasemsun Chinnavaso said that the issue was raised for discussion by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment General Dapong Ratanasuwan at the Seventeenth Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 28 July 2015.
Attending the meeting were ministers responsible for the environment from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The ministers recognized the need to develop a Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation toward Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation.
They also welcomed Thailand's offer to host a workshop to draft the roadmap in 2016 with a view to promote sharing of experiences and lessons learned, enhance institutional capacities, human resources development, and technology transfer to achieve a vision of haze-free ASEAN by 2020.
Several provinces in northern Thailand face the haze problem caused by forest fires during the dry season each year, usually from January to April.
Mr. Kasemsun said that in dealing with the problem, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had adopted a "single command system to enhance efficiency in using information and all resources available. Operation centers at national, regional, and provincial levels have also been set up. Geographical information systems and new technology have been applied to cope with the situation, as well. Moreover, campaigns have been stepped up by urging local people and the private sector to avoid burning on farmland.
On 17 June 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a group of entrepreneurs to prevent and control the burning of agricultural products on maize planting areas. The MOU aims to promote environment-friendly business operations. On the long-term basis, Thailand has adopted the royal advice for forest conservation and rehabilitation, especially in the northern region.
The Government is also proceeding with its strategies for watershed management on denuded mountains in 13 provinces in the northern region. A pilot project will be carried out in Chiang Mai and Nan from 2015 to 2016. Emphasis will be placed on tackling the problem of encroachment into forest and watershed areas.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment General Dapong Ratanasuwan said that restoring the cover on denuded mountains is also regarded as an effective way to control transboundary haze pollution.
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