Left Menu
Development News Edition

Bangkok pollution: Schools closed as govt struggle to enforce crop burning ban

Bangkok pollution: Schools closed as govt struggle to enforce crop burning ban
Image Credit: Pixabay


  • Bangkok has ordered over 400 schools to remain closed due to deteriorating levels of air pollution.
  • On Tuesday morning, the city was ranked as having the world's ninth-worst air for a major city, according to AirVisual.
  • There are doubts about any respite in the near future as farmers continue crop burning despite government ban.

Thailand's capital on Tuesday ordered schools to remain closed due to unhealthy levels of air pollution, and there were doubts about whether the situation would improve in the coming months as farmers burn their sugarcane crop in the harvest season.

The Bangkok air quality index (AQI) climbed to 170 - a reading above 150 is classified as unhealthy - on Tuesday morning and the city was ranked as having the world's ninth-worst air for a major city, according to independent air quality monitor AirVisual.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration ordered 437 schools in Bangkok, the most visited city in the world, to close for a day on Wednesday as one of the emergency measures against pollution.

Bangkok's level of PM 2.5 particles was 92.7 pg/m3 on Tuesday, while anything over 35 is considered unhealthy. PM 2.5 particles can include dust, soot, and smoke. The last few years' annual deterioration in air quality early in the new year coincides with the annual sugarcane harvest, which normally runs from November to March.

Sugarcane is typically burned before harvesting to remove the outer leaves, making it easier to collect. After the harvest, the leftover leaves are burned again to prepare the land for re-planting. The government has officially banned burning crops during January and February, according to the Ministry of Agriculture website.

But many farmers still resort to burning as it is cheaper than hiring workmen to cut stalks and collect leaves to prepare fields for the next planting. "Total cost of cultivation rises about 30% to 40% for cutting fresh sugar cane (without burning) ... that makes it necessary to burn," a sugarcane farmer in northeastern Thailand, who only gave his name as Sert, said. "I don't feel good about it," the farmer said when asked how he felt about contributing to the pollution.

For some days in January, Thailand had up to 375 kilometer-wide hot spots indicating fires, satellite data shows, with an average of 100 spots in agriculture land, according to Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

While the burning of crops in the first two months of the year is banned, little is being done to enforce it, and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed helplessness.

We cannot simply put the blame on people and penalize all the polluters because the outcome of penalty measures will create other serious problems for society

Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister, Thailand

To be sure, crop burning is not the only cause of the smog in Thailand - pollution from cars and trucks, weather patterns and industrial emissions are also blamed. "It's a cocktail of factors," said Surat Bualert, Dean of the Faculty of Environment at Kasetsart University.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

How can technology help the future of mobility?

More than a billion people or one-third of the global rural population lacked access to all-season roads and transport services in 2016, subsequently hindering the socio-economic development....


Latest News

Opposition creates ruckus in Odisha Assembly over neglect of Odia language by govt

The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday saw a heated debate as both the Congress and BJP MLAs blamed the state government for neglecting the Odia language.The Congress and BJP MLAs said that the Odisha government and the Centre are not providing fun...

FOREX-Dollar rises as weak German data hurts euro

The dollar rose on Tuesday to its highest in nearly three years against the euro, which was pressured by a German survey showing slumping investor confidence in Europes largest economy.The euro was 0.36 lower against the dollar at 1.0795, i...

BJP legislators stage dharna in Rajasthan Assembly

BJP legislators created a uproar in the Rajasthan Assembly on Tuesday over a comment by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal on Leader Of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria and staged a dharna. Amid the uproar over the comment, the Ho...

UPDATE 2-Eastern Libyan forces strike Tripoli port in new escalation

Eastern Libyan forces attacked the seaport of Libyas capital on Tuesday as they targeted a Turkish vessel bringing in arms, an eastern official said, marking a new escalation in the battle for control of Tripoli. Eastern officials did not p...

Give Feedback