BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The chief of the Pollution Control Department outlined the steps Thailand is taking to fight smog at a five-nation ministerial meeting on cross-border smog control.
Attapol Charoenchansa (pic), director-general of the department, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa had assigned him to participate in the online meeting of environment minsters from five Asean nations on Monday (July 4).
The four other countries joining the 23rd meeting on cross-border smog were Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
During the meeting, each country reported its preparations to prevent forest fires and subsequent smog in lower Asia, Attapol said.
Attapol reported the preparations Thailand was making to prevent peat swamp forest fires in the southern provinces.
Attapol said he also demonstrated the use of a weather model to predict the air quality seven days in advance from July to October.
The meeting also deliberated on a joint strategic and sustainable plan to manage peat swamp forests in lower Asia, Attapol said.
He said peat swamp forest fires could happen from July to September as it is a dry season for lower Asia and fires in southern Thailand and on Indonesia’s Sumatra island would cause smog that could affect Thailand and other nations in lower Asia.
To cope with such a situation, the department has joined hands with other government agencies under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to try to prevent forest fires at peat swamps, Attapol said.
He said Varawut has instructed all agencies of his ministry to integrate operations to try to prevent forest fires.
The agencies were also instructed by Varawut to seek cooperation from local people to prevent the fires by establishing a fire alert network.
The local people were told that swamp forest fires would hurt both their health and tourism, Attapol added.