Agriculture Ministry steps up anti-fine dust measures


BANGKOK — The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives intensifies its measures to cope with smog, including serious efforts to stop burning in farmland.

Anant Suwannarat, permanent secretary of the ministry, said Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on ordered subordinates to seriously stop field burning to protect public health.

According to Mr Anant, the ministry is campaigning for farmers nationwide to bury crop residue instead of burning it. The campaign coverage expanded from 70,000 rai of farmland in the North as earlier planned.

The ministry will also watch out for field burning in areas of repeated hot spots based on data on the burning of paddy, maize and sugarcane fields in the past five years. It is seriously banning stubble burning in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan and Nakhon Pathom provinces to make them models for smog solution.

Besides, the ministry is increasing the networks of farmers against field burning from 210 to 226 in smog-stricken provinces including those in greater Bangkok. It is also applying rainmaking to help reduce fine dust from stubble burning and wildfire.