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Move Forward MP proposes measure to cope with forest fires, trans-border haze

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Move Forward MP for Chiang Mai Phattarapong Leelaphat

A Move Forward MP for Chiang Mai province has proposed a 5-step measure to cope with forest fires and haze pollution in Thailand, especially in northern provinces.

Phattarapong Leelaphat, speaking during the debate on the government’s policy statement in parliament today (Tuesday), said that he is disappointed that the government has not treated forest fires and haze as an urgent matter, even though the problem has been added to the national agenda.

He said his proposed measures encompass the ASEAN Agreement of Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP), the Thai Constitution, which guarantees the protection of rights and quality of life of the people and the right of affected people to sue agencies which cause direct or indirect pollution affecting their livelihoods or health.

He said that the first measure is for the state to put in place a health welfare system, to provide free screening for lung or respiratory diseases for people in northern provinces.

The second is management of farm waste, to reduce burning of the waste. He suggested a fund be set up to assist farmers in turning their waste, such as rice stubble and corn cobs, into usable products. The state must also ban imports of products, the waste from which is burned by farmers.

Phattarapong proposed that the state must set up early warning and data collection systems, so preventive plans can be formulated, adding that the command centre to control forest fires must be decentralised, to enable local officials to manage forest fires.

Regarding the AATHP, the MP said that said that, since the agreement is rarely applied, the Thai government should take the initiative and set up set up a regional centre in northern Thailand to deal with transboundary haze from neighbouring countries, such as Myanmar.

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