The government is eyeing the increase of mangrove forest land as an effective measure to combat air pollution. The Prime Minister has ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to find suitable areas for forest planting while creating a comprehensive plan to tackle the seasonal haze issue.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa this morning met with Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in a meeting to discuss the restoration and expansion of mangrove forests in Thailand, in an effort to mitigate air pollution.
In the meeting, the Prime Minister has ordered the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) to find suitable lands for mangrove forest planting, as the coastal forest can help prevent shoreline retreat while absorbing 3-4 times the volume of carbon dioxide.
On the seasonal accumulation of PM 2.5 airborne particles, which usually takes place in winter, the Prime Minister has ordered the Pollution Control Department (PCD) to issue preventive and response plans towards the haze issue, and to communicate with the general public in a proactive manner.
As part of this policy, provincial administrations must have in place their local PM 2.5 response plan, together with campaigns against the burning of combustibles in forest areas, the promotion of watershed forest restoration, and the establishment of volunteer networks, and the promotion of clean energy usage.
From now through early next year, the PM has urged related agencies to stringently identify the source of PM 2.5, strictly enforce the regulations at reserved forest areas, and comply with the ASEAN’s roadmap on transboundary haze pollution.
He has also asked related agencies to strictly regulate the emission of black exhaust from vehicles, and the emission from factories, while at the same time preventing forest fires, which are one of the key factors contributing to the haze disaster. (NNT)