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Thailand to Plant More Mangroves to Combat Air Pollution

Thailand Mangrove Forest in Trat Province

Thailand plans to increase the amount of land devoted to mangrove forests to combat air pollution.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to find suitable areas for planting while creating a comprehensive strategy to tackle the seasonal haze issue.

Natural Resources Minister Varawut Silpa-archa met Tuesday with Prayut to discuss the restoration and expansion of mangrove forests.

In the meeting, the PM directed the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to find suitable lands for mangrove forest planting, as the coastal forest can help prevent shoreline retreat while absorbing up to four times the volume of carbon dioxide.

On the seasonal accumulation of PM 2.5 airborne particles, which usually takes place in winter, Prayut ordered the Pollution Control Department 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.