The government has instructed relevant agencies to escalate their forest fire responses in an attempt to mitigate the air pollution crisis.
Government Spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, during this week’s cabinet meeting, urged agencies to accelerate anti-haze operations.
This involves the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment providing personnel and equipment, while the Ministry of Interior enforces the no-fire policy. Additionally, the Ministry of Industry will impose a temporary purchase ban on sugar cane related to agricultural burning while the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will launch cloud seeding operations to bring about precipitation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has assigned the Royal Thai Embassy in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to make daily inquiries to the Myanmar government on efforts to limit agricultural burning. The Ministry of Defence will also use its military connections with neighboring countries to address the transboundary haze issue. Thai companies investing and operating in Myanmar and Laos are also being asked to look after local farmers.
People in Thailand are meanwhile being warned that any actions resulting in forest fires are punishable by law. Penalties for causing a fire in a national park range from 4 to 20 years in prison, a fine of between 400,000 and 2 million baht, or a combined sentence. (NNT)