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Haze starts to cover Phayao despite 60-day burning ban

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Some of these simplistic, comments and condemnations, come off as pretty lazy in my opinion.

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I was just on Koh Chang for a few days. Couldn't see more than 2km. Couldn't see across the straight to the mainland. Absolutely horrible.

I’m afraid you are talking about Koh Chang/Trat?

We had planned to go there after existing more than

4 weeks under grey skies in Phrae province.

Thanks for the info, and sorry for you.

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I would love to know how Phayao has managed to continue burning while in our area I haven't seen a plume of smoke in a month. But guess what we still have bad air. The other farmers have a right to be PO'd. In fact my wife says there have been some altercations.

‘But guess what we still have bad air.’

Thanks canuckamuck, same, same here in Phrae.

No fires, only one place burning rice husks last week.

But this might barely produce enough smoke to fill any

backyard. – My idea is, most of the smog comes drifting

southward from China. Have a look -sometimes- on aqicn.org .

I took many screenshots of China, covered with smog or not

since Dec 22; anyone who might be interested please let me know.

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This is a serious issue with no simple easy solutions but you wouldn’t know that by the one-liners regurgitated on to this page. It involves the livelihood of some of the poorest members of society, intertwined with the greed of some of the largest corporations.

Without affordable alternatives to burning, what good does it do to threaten a farmer who is already in debt up to his eyeballs, with little else to lose? His only real alternative is to be more devious in an attempt to avoid getting caught.
What makes more sense, to go after millions of poor farmers with small backyard burns or a couple of major corporations contracting out millions of rai of corn production and subsequent burning. This won’t be solved overnight or without a comprehensive plan to deal with both ends of the supply and demand chain.

There' no agricultural reason to burn, it's laziness.

they say it helps produce mushrooms, no it doesn't it just burns off the top layer of mulch hiding the mushrooms.

They say it's better to burn the old rice straw, no it isn't it's better to plough it in and let it rot, providing organic matter for the soil.

I've been here nearly forty years and they hardly burned at all back then.

Now it's seen as a quick way to clean up the land, no more mulching and composting.

the Thai farmers are totally hooked on chemicals and fertilisers.

I never saw fertiliser 40 years ago, they had buffalo poo.

This is just another example of the get rich quick mentality.

This is part of a problem world-wide in the agricultural business. I think it's misleading to characterise it as laziness, but rather it's a process of growing food in the most efficient manner, which means the lowest cost.

Systems which involve getting the most food from a given area of land, in a manner which results in the greatest nutrient content in the food, whilst simultaneously improving the soil and reducing the need for artificial fertilizers, is more labour intensive.

Unless such food can be sold at a higher price, as most food which is certified as organically grown sometimes can be, then there is no incentive. Unfortunately, expensive, organically certified food is a niche market. Most buyers are not willing to pay the extra money.

Also, most people are not aware of the benefits of such 'labour-intensive' agricultural practices, which are sometimes known as Permaculture.

The benefits are really astonishing, for the entire population, world-wide.

The modern agricultural practice of clearing forested land, burning the wood and foliage, or removing the residue of the previous crop and then tilling the soil, results in a massive reduction of the carbon content of the soil, and the biodiversity of the soil, over time.

There have been many scientific studies which have shown that food which is grown in such modern conditions has significantly less vitamin and nutrient content than food grown in natural, high-carbon and high-biodiversity soils. Our great grandfathers ate oranges with a higher vitamin C content. Perhaps we can compensate for this deficiency by taking multivitamin pills, at least to some degree, but I'd rather eat nutritious food.

The nutritional content of such food grown naturally is just one aspect. There are two major problems looming in the future, which are often raised in the media and are very contentious. One is a possible world food shortage as the population increases, and the other is the effect of rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which some think could disrupt the climate to our disadvantage.

Guess what! The natural, 'Permaculture' method of agriculture could solve both problems, if indeed rising CO2 levels are a problem, which is not certain.

The permaculture method of mixing crops which do not compete with each other, such as planting Papaya trees, or other fruit trees in a field of wheat, greatly increases the food yield from a given area of land.

Such practices could result in a doubling of food production (or more), as well as provide an increase in nutrient and vitamin content. That should be sufficient to solve any future food shortages.

Regarding the concerns about increasing CO2 levels, the Permaculture method actually sequesters carbon in the soil. Burning wood, foliage and grass, increases atmospheric CO2 levels.

Leaving such wood, foliage and grass to break down in the soil, reduces CO2 levels, as well as improving the fertility of the soil.

It would be very inspiring if the current junta in Thailand would take this annual 'burn off' problem in the north of Thailand as an opportunity to re-organise agricultural methods, along the lines I have suggested.

Thailand could then lead the way in tackling both the looming world food shortage and the perceived climate change problem.

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Some of these simplistic, comments and condemnations, come off as pretty lazy in my opinion.

We have a small organic farm and also grow rice. We dont burn as we feel it will bother the health of the villagers, the children in the village and ourselves. Anyone defending darmers that do burn, is completely off mark. Its a crime against humanity that needs to stop. Polluting the environment for your own monetary needs is a crime and comes forth out of stupidity and greed. Stop your excuses.

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Some of these simplistic, comments and condemnations, come off as pretty lazy in my opinion.

We have a small organic farm and also grow rice. We dont burn as we feel it will bother the health of the villagers, the children in the village and ourselves. Anyone defending darmers that do burn, is completely off mark. Its a crime against humanity that needs to stop. Polluting the environment for your own monetary needs is a crime and comes forth out of stupidity and greed. Stop your excuses.

Good for you that you don’t burn but saying those who do, are committing a crime against humanity, is a bit melodramatic. To acknowledge that it will take time to change longstanding customs and practices is not making excuses. No one is defending burning, just acknowledging that things don’t change overnight.

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Some of these simplistic, comments and condemnations, come off as pretty lazy in my opinion.

We have a small organic farm and also grow rice. We dont burn as we feel it will bother the health of the villagers, the children in the village and ourselves. Anyone defending darmers that do burn, is completely off mark. Its a crime against humanity that needs to stop. Polluting the environment for your own monetary needs is a crime and comes forth out of stupidity and greed. Stop your excuses.

Good for you that you don’t burn but saying those who do, are committing a crime against humanity, is a bit melodramatic. To acknowledge that it will take time to change longstanding customs and practices is not making excuses. No one is defending burning, just acknowledging that things don’t change overnight.

Dumping barrels of toxic and radioactive waste in the oceans was also a custom in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Needless to say that this was a crime against humanity that logically was prohibited since the 90's. Smoking wasn't considered dangerous in the 50's and 60's, but we know better now.

We need a total stop of burning and clean up the air we breath on this planet. The fact that slash and burn was a custom doesn't make it right. Tradition, or customs, are not a justification for crimes!

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Some of these simplistic, comments and condemnations, come off as pretty lazy in my opinion.

We have a small organic farm and also grow rice. We dont burn as we feel it will bother the health of the villagers, the children in the village and ourselves. Anyone defending darmers that do burn, is completely off mark. Its a crime against humanity that needs to stop. Polluting the environment for your own monetary needs is a crime and comes forth out of stupidity and greed. Stop your excuses.

Good for you that you don’t burn but saying those who do, are committing a crime against humanity, is a bit melodramatic. To acknowledge that it will take time to change longstanding customs and practices is not making excuses. No one is defending burning, just acknowledging that things don’t change overnight.

Dumping barrels of toxic and radioactive waste in the oceans was also a custom in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Needless to say that this was a crime against humanity that logically was prohibited since the 90's. Smoking wasn't considered dangerous in the 50's and 60's, but we know better now.

We need a total stop of burning and clean up the air we breath on this planet. The fact that slash and burn was a custom doesn't make it right. Tradition, or customs, are not a justification for crimes!

So what do you propose, incarceration and/or heave fines levied on the poorest members of society? If you do that, who is going to grow the cheap food everyone wants, with entire communities in jail and unable to pay the fines?

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Good point, as a society we pay too little for our food. The real price of food without the constant destruction of our planet is several times higher than what the farmers get paid.

Being poor is not an excuse to damage the land and endanger the health of the people living on it. Neither is thieving or stealing. Thailand's poor will have to go through their class struggle one day, the income disparity is too much off balance here.

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Driving back to Phayao from Chiang Mai today there was smoke plumes from a fire in the mountains. This was about 40kms from Phayao. There was also recent burning next to the highway. There had been no storms so lightning could not be blamed but it was extreme mountainous region.

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Would I be correct in assuming that much of this haze-producing burn-off is due to the traditional farming practices of the Hill Tribe people who tend to clear a patch of forest for planting their crops in the nutrient-rich soil that has developed over many years of forest growth, then, when the soil has been depleted after planting and harvesting a number of crops without the use of fertilizer, the Hill Tribe people move on to clear another patch of forest to take advantage of the rich soil?

If this is the case, then the government needs to spend money to provide advice and assistance to these Hill Tribe people to help them develop alternative and more sustainable agricultural practices. Innovation is required, not punishment.

For example, one interesting agricultural practice which I came across recently, on the internet, was practiced in Eastern Europe a thousand years ago. It's called Hugelkultur, which means Hill Culture or Mound Culture.

The main principle is, instead of burning the trunks, branches and foliage that are cut down to clear the land, all the timber is placed in a hollow, with the thicker trunks and branches at the bottom and the small branches and leaves on the top. The pile should be compacted as much as possible, then covered with a substantial thickness of natural soil, allowing for the fact that much of the soil will sift down between the branches.

The crops, or fruit trees, are then planted in the covering layer of soil. As the timber beneath gradually breaks down over the years, it provides a continuous source of nutrients for anything planted above. Not only that, as the timber breaks down into mulch and humus, it has an increased capacity to store water, and removes the need for constant irrigation.

Such a system would seem ideal for the Hill Tribe people. Would someone please communicate this idea to Mr Prayuth. wink.png

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Would I be correct in assuming that much of this haze-producing burn-off is due to the traditional farming practices of the Hill Tribe people who tend to clear a patch of forest for planting their crops in the nutrient-rich soil that has developed over many years of forest growth, then, when the soil has been depleted after planting and harvesting a number of crops without the use of fertilizer, the Hill Tribe people move on to clear another patch of forest to take advantage of the rich soil?

If this is the case, then the government needs to spend money to provide advice and assistance to these Hill Tribe people to help them develop alternative and more sustainable agricultural practices. Innovation is required, not punishment.

For example, one interesting agricultural practice which I came across recently, on the internet, was practiced in Eastern Europe a thousand years ago. It's called Hugelkultur, which means Hill Culture or Mound Culture.

The main principle is, instead of burning the trunks, branches and foliage that are cut down to clear the land, all the timber is placed in a hollow, with the thicker trunks and branches at the bottom and the small branches and leaves on the top. The pile should be compacted as much as possible, then covered with a substantial thickness of natural soil, allowing for the fact that much of the soil will sift down between the branches.

The crops, or fruit trees, are then planted in the covering layer of soil. As the timber beneath gradually breaks down over the years, it provides a continuous source of nutrients for anything planted above. Not only that, as the timber breaks down into mulch and humus, it has an increased capacity to store water, and removes the need for constant irrigation.

Such a system would seem ideal for the Hill Tribe people. Would someone please communicate this idea to Mr Prayuth. wink.png

Personally I think it would be more productive to take on the major corporations who are behind the nearly 8 million rai of corn grown in the North. Sure the Hill Tribe people are contracted to do most of the manual labor but they are simply using the limited tools at their disposal.

The lowland rice growers are a separate problem with different solutions. There is also the burning off of unwanted undergrowth which grows at an alarming rate along with the heavy leaf litter from native trees in the forest.
We need solutions to all the various problems but I suggest we need modern solutions which take in to consideration our modern problems.

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Lovely. I am in Chiang Rai next week for a few days,

Yes, I am an idiot.

If you are coming for the panoramic views then, yes, this is not the best time of year but that is not the only reason for one to come to Chiang Rai. I hope you have a great visit.

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