6 June 2024

The Administrative Court in Chiang Mai today ordered Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and the National Environment Board to draw up an emergency plan within 90 days, to deal with PM2.5 pollution problem in northern provinces and to develop short- and long-term plans to deal with it.

The court’s ruling marks a rare victory for civil society in the northern region, putting pressure on the government to take concrete action to deal with PM2.5 pollution, which has been a threat to the health of people in the region for many years.

In the ruling, the court said that it had received information from several state agencies, among them the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency and the Pollution Control Department, stating that the levels of PM2.5 in the atmosphere in numerous northern provinces, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Lampang, Lamphun, Sukhothai and Phitsanuloke, has exceeded 100 microns per cubic metre during the dry season since 2017.

The information obtained from the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University also shows that more people are falling ill due to the effects of PM2.5 since 2018.

The court noted that neither the prime minister nor the National Environment Board have called urgent meetings to address the problem since 2017.

The prime minister, during most of that period, was General Prayut Chan-o-cha.