11 July 2024

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said today that he will call his Cambodian counterpart, Hun Manet, to discuss the ongoing haze problem

Srettha, who is visiting the northern province of Chiang Mai, said he expected to talk to Hun Manet this afternoon, after being briefed by Pakorn Apaphant, the director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

Pakorn explained to Srettha about Thai and Cambodian cooperation in the prevention of burning, which increases haze and dust levels. Satellite imagery clearly shows that the hotspots are more prevalent in Thailand’s neighbouring countries, although Pakorn did not identify them by name.

“The Cambodian prime minister is scheduled to visit Thailand on February 7, but this problem cannot wait. So, I will telephone Hun Manet this afternoon,” Srettha said.

Srettha also visited the Royal Rainmaking and Agriculture Aviation Department, where he was briefed on the department’s activities in helping reduce haze.

When he asked a senior pilot about how many aircraft the department had, Srettha was told that there is one aircraft in Chiang Mai and some others in Pathum Thani and other provinces.

“May I suggest, not order, that, as there are now large numbers of forest fires in Chiang Mai, as well as in other northern and north-eastern provinces, perhaps the aircraft should be relocated to these areas,” Srettha responded.

He emphasised that he was only making a suggestion, as the officials have more information and are more knowledgeable about the issue.