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Smoke, Smog, Dust 2013 Chiang Mai

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The US this,the US that, the US is great, for goodness sake NS, this is a thread about pollution in Chiang Mai, the entire world does not revolve around the US, believe it or not.

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Feel sorry for you " Northerners" Truly , you move to your "country" paradise and get inundated by smog and haze .. Nothing is gonna change for the better fast unfortunatly, that's the locals and mother natures choice .... BIP ... Breathe In Peace .. coffee1.gif

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Feel sorry for you " Northerners" Truly , you move to your "country" paradise and get inundated by smog and haze .. Nothing is gonna change for the better fast unfortunatly, that's the locals and mother natures choice .... BIP ... Breathe In Peace .. coffee1.gif

To be perfectly honest, the weather and climate that exists here for at least nine months out of the year actually makes those six to eight weeks in the burning season quite tolerable.

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Before you get all upset by this seemingly short-sighted policy, consider the enormous socioeconomic problems complicating a solution in a primarily agricultural country that lead to such a "patently absurd" official partial solution. Also consider burning of agricultural waste in so-called economically-developed countries. Can you guess which ?

"Also consider burning of agricultural waste in so-called economically-developed countries. Can you guess which ?"

No I can't guess. Have any links?

The US for instance grows a lot of rice. Primarily that is in delta areas such as the Sacramento River near Sacramento and toward San Francisco, and in the famous swamp areas around New Orleans and the Everglades in Florida.

The US banned burning in 1991, to be phased out by 2000. Now the only way to get a permit is to prove that crop harming disease is present, and that only burning will kill it. Link

The US is huge, these areas have coastal wind influence, and a little bit of burning hurts no one. It is totally unlike SE Asia.

A problem with rice straw is that despite best efforts by scientists even in universities, there's little commercial value for it. The answer for most is to plow it in and let it compost. However in soils that never or rarely dry out, there is anaerobic decomposition which sours the soil. Farmers with this type of soil struggle the most.

I can remember when fields were burned before anyone cared. It wasn't just rice either. Those who grew grass seed for lawns always burned the fields to remove disease and weeds so that their seed would be pure. I can't recall anyone burning corn stalks because it is a grass and makes a good winter feed supplement for ruminants such as cattle. It is harvested green and made into "silage."

So who are these so-called developed countries which treat their air as SE Asia does? I will be sad to learn.

Where is rice grown?

Arkansas ranks first among the six major rice-producing states, accounting for approximately 48 percent of the U.S. rice production.

The USDA actively supports rice farming in Arkansas with various subsidies and programs. In 2010, rice subsidies in Arkansas totaled $189,171,838, the majority of which was in the form of direct payment. However, the USDA also supports Arkansas rice farmers in the form of other economic programs such as production flexibility and commodity certificates, which cost the government over $1 billion and $790 million in subsidies, respectively, from 1995-2010.

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/osceola-ar/TC3RRC1S740FTRHD6

The EPA will come down quickly on a factory for polluting the air. Yet, these farmers seem to think they are above the law. It appears to me that they do not care that this smoke is making people sick. I have a grandchild that suffers terribly from allergies and asthma. When they burn the fields a lot of people have trouble breathing. Those who suffer the most are children and the elderly. Everyone needs to call the EPA, their congressmen, or anyone else who can help. This is a serious situation, and it needs to stop.

http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/151540/

Crop residue burning occurs in all fifty states, including Alaska. In the contiguous United States nearly 20% of land is dedicated to crops. Depending on where a farmer lives, he or she may simply wake up and decide to burn without any requirements from local, state, or federal laws or agencies. In both Arkansas and Idaho, local officials have reported seeing farmers set fire to old tractor tires and then drag these burning tires across the field in order to burn residues.

Now ya all know the rest of the story.

Edited by thailiketoo
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To answer you, Neversure, you may not be sure ( to judge by your handle biggrin.png) , but I am on this point. Link, my patootie! How about firsthand reports from the foothills surrounding the valley ?! And, I was totally surprised to find another later post about agricultural rice field burning in the USA! Maybe the American Congressional conservatives ought to really get off their ass and provide more funding for the EPA rather than trying to starve it out of existence!

So, you guessed which country! But there is no prize!

The place of which I spoke is the Sacramento Valley of California. Otherwise, you had a lot of interesting things to write in your post, some quite useful, in my view, in a few different ways. You are certainly correct, for example, when you say that the USA is not Thailand. Northern and Central Plain Thai farmers (except the big interests) are definitely not the same as Sacramento Valley farmers!

If people read what you have said carefully, it is interesting what they learn. For example, how long it took to "phase out" burning in California. Now, think about phasing out agricultural burning in Thailand, a economically-developing country with poor regulatory history with so many poor farmers sweating for a meager living. Unfortunately, it is also a country, like all others who can certainly do much better to act, it seems, that never really computes and acts upon the eventual societal costs of preventative public health. Now, it seems, to speak more broadly, the Chinese government is really becoming very concerned about it's air pollution problems, which are truly catastrophic for the public health of huge populations.

But let's get back to the point. While interesting that the purpose of this thread is to discuss the problem in Chiang Mai and, I think fairly, to extend it to the problem that is not only valid here but also in adjoining rice-growing regions/countries.

Just to remind you, apparently a Californian, we also have serious problems with dry season forest fires, like California (and Australia, for that matter). Hope you don't have a home in one of the vulnerable California canyons. Or if you do, that you can afford the insurance. Here, people, especially the poor, just get burned out. No insurance.

So, if you have something constructive to add about the problem in Chiang Mai, then I hope you will continue to post. Otherwise, I am sure you'll find some environmentally-conscious thread covering the issue more broadly elsewhere.

Cheers! wai.gif

Edited by Mapguy

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http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=2582

Ah, the annual "kick off" in Chiang Mai's efforts to eliminate air pollution! Or, as a cynic might say, another showy pseudo-effort --- this one including a stage show (!) that is nothing really more than kicking the can down the road.

What is needed to make measurable progress in substantially lessening or eliminating serious air pollution is indeed complicated and difficult, but this sort of official approach is really absurd. saai.gif

Further news article reflecting the apparent uselessness to date of such government campaigns with some limited discussion:

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=2610

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Given that the worst originates in areas outside of Thailand, it's hard to see why anyone would expect miracles from any campaign, government or otherwise.

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Meanwhile, in Northern India...

(This is right now in the Delhi area)

post-64232-0-09705700-1383916544_thumb.j

PM10 levels are completely beyond anything ever experienced in the Thai smog season, and that's including insane places like Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son.

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Yes, Winnie, in Delhi, and in any other rapidly carbon-based energy-powered countries which are experiencing industrial growth. Delhi is nothing compared to some Northern Chinese industrial cities.

Yes, Winnie. Here in Thailand (Say, here, more specifically, in Northern Thailand, it is not so bad as in some other countries. It isn't.

Yes, Winnie, here in Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, the air pollution is perhaps most often not so bad as in the bordering provinces, such as in Mae Hong Song and Chiang Rai, much (if not all !) of the time.

But, Winnie, air pollution HERE is still a problem which, seasonally, can be quite bad. It definitely contributes to the death of some people. For many, many others, it causes a huge increase in respiratory disease. Some people say it is not a personal problem for them. What about the huge number of people who do suffer?

Winnie, most of us who live and work in Chiang Mai can not escape from the seasonal air pollution by traveling to better places when it is really noxious to be here.

For those who wish to retire here, or those with small children, please understand some realities that you will face.

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^ of course; not disagreeing with any of that. I was just amazed to see it affect Delhi in that way, with values double that of the worst Chiang Rai or Mae Hong Son have seen. Not saying there isn't a serious problem in Northern Thailand.

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But what is the state of air pollution in Ulan Bator, I feel it's important to understand that in order to fully appreciate the CM picture fully, anyone?

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Yes, Jose, the situation in recent days in Eastern China is truly extreme --- and much worse than experienced here in Chiang Mai. Very, very rarely --- and only for very short spells does it get that bad in Chiang Mai, but that is still not good news for people in Chiang Mai. Be thankful, but...

Don't ignore the problem here because it is worse elsewhere If you'll excuse the phrase, it can be "breathtaking."

There are answers to solve such problems. They aren't easy ones. But they do start with individual initiative. That initiative could be to goad government, to help support existing concerns about the social and economic costs of air pollution. That sounds stuffy! Just keep pushing.

Don't stay mute. There is no Thai national conspiracy to pollute the air. Concerned people are aware. Support that. Support action for change. Change is hard.

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