large barite ultrafine mill in chiang rai

large barite ultrafine mill in chiang rai

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons

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Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes. Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, has been posing a health risk for the past several days”

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced

Thai farmers conduct the burn-off activities to reduce the amount of leftover materials – biowaste – like stalk tops, leaves and refuse left after the harvesting. Rice farmers also routinely burn rice stubble – the residual plant waste to prepare fields for the next season of crops

Around 70-75% of Thailand’s sugar production is sent overseas and the country ranks second in exports just behind Brazil. It’s a big industry. The government also introduced a quota, distribution and price support system between growers and millers which has helped to artificially keep a ceiling on the export prices. Most of Thailand’s sugarcane plantations are in the Central and Northeast regions, some of them, evidenced by the fire maps, are less than 100 kilometres north of the capital

But the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravut Silpaarcha is resorting to the old government narrative, repeating that officials at the Pollution Control Department will have to coordinate with the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to “intensify efforts to reduce emissions of PM2.5 dust from vehicles and factories”

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

The Pollution Control Department is now estimating that the biomass burn-off contribution to the PM2.5 levels could vary between 24 – 38%, with the majority of it coming from sugarcane and rice burning. Most of the concentrations of agri-burning is around Northern Thailand and in the farmlands north of Bangkok. These areas also suffer considerably from the direct effects of the smoke. Fire maps also indicate that an even worse problem exists in northern Cambodia and north-west Myanmar where the burning carries on un-abated

The Thaiger has waged a long campaign to provide fire maps and air-pollution readings over the past 3 years as evidence of the contribution of the agri-burning to Bangkok’s annual smog problem. But officials have kept beating the same drum, blaming factories, vehicle traffic and old diesel buses (which certainly need to be regulated as well but are not the main cause of the December to April haze and smog)

So all this “told to stop “. Not must stop under threat of law breaking ! NO. If it was someone posting some thing this wretched corrupt Gov didn’t like or protesting near embassies they would be charged ! #nohopethailand

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

Here too. The Thaiger Thai edition: no translation of this article because the gov wont like it that people talk about the real reasons. Only some basic stats published and “be careful when going outside” (uhmm it enters your home too in a few hours)

Most of the over 330,000 sugar cane farmers own small farms of an average of only 25 rai, but the industry employs over one and a half million people, so 4% of the working population (albeit not full time) – that’s a third of the numbers that famously work in the tourism sector

Your solution is the cause, sugar cane mulch for pots & plants, fruit & vegetables. Bio fuel for the farmers tractors e.t.c.. parks & gardens, you sure you are not on the board of tourism of Thailand. You are a educated person IS,,, I can’t believe what you said above. Never mind, You can not get it right all the time,,

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

Issan John, when someone gives a solution you say its wrong. You are a bully. Always correcting people for there say. Why do you do that, we can have some fun too. Relax a little there John. You say you have got a bad back, so why do you take it out on us. You must be a Liverpool supporter,,,, ( just kidding John)

I lived in Hawaii in the decades when sugar was the king crop on all the islands. Cane fields burned off there as well. Fortunately the Hawaiian trade winds blew it away offshore. When the trades would subside, the black ‘Hawaiian Snow’ would rain down. Last of the sugar plantations shut down in late 90s-couldn’t compete with other sugar producing countries. The former sugar lands are now a sea of overpriced cheaply built houses. The only by-product was bagasse-what was left after the cane was crushed. The old days it was used for insulation and cheap building material. Point is as long as there’s sugar growing, there’s going to be field burning

Compost it at 25-30:1 carbon to Nitrogen ratio. Thereby making : -methane gas -quality compost to improve future crops -Heat a as byproduct-can be use for ancillary pre heat of water for natural gas run steam turbine electric generators -fibre for paper and packaging as well as packing filler for shipping -spraycrete -fibre mixed with concrete and sprayed on forms for low cost housing

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

Go to researchgate.org. There is a list of by-products and successful experiments done with sugar cane waste. Many countries have energy efficient programs and products made from bio-substrates of sugar cane waste. In the USA you can buy wood panelling, ceiling tiles and isolation materials made from recycled sugar cane waste. They also sell OBS and MDF boards made with sugar cane waste content. So what’s the big deal?

I was wondering why no-one was suggesting ‘waste to energy’ power stations. Then I found that the Ministry of Energy’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency once had a 10 year plan to build a range of these incinerators to deal with crop waste, general garbage (that would otherwise go to landfill) and crops grown specifically to be burned.

You can produce some energy / power from burning it, but the energy produced is very expensive as it makes a very bad fuel even when dried and compressed – you get a lot of smoke and very little heat, far worse than burning soft wood or even straw

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

It would be possible to produce some energy, but the energy produced would be less than the energy used to compress it and transport it to the power stations / incinerators, and at the same time you’d still be producing exactly the same amount of smoke and pollution, just in a different place and concentrated in far more localised areas.

As I’ve mentioned before and here, the government already gives a subsidy to farmers for not “pre-burning” crops (as they’re doing in the photo at the top of the article) of 7 baht per tonne (about 0.5% of sale price) on top of the basic subsidy (65 baht, or some 5%) which has reduced some of the burn but it only solves a small part of the problem

That’s a good reasoned argument, although I would want to know if the energy conversion is consistently low across all biomass combustibles likely to be used. There is also the point that, having the output of the burning contained in a controlled environment means that it can be scrubbed/ filtered and the harmful particles captured

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

I didn’t say this was going to be cheap, but any business case has to consider the peripheral costs and benefits, e.g. the potential health gains to be made (and therefore costs saved) through the reduction in pollution. All major infrastructure projects are supposed to be assessed in this way, why not this one ?

As to the environmental cost of transporting the materials, I suggest that no pick-ups or trucks that have been specially converted to spew plumes of smoke out of their tail pipes every time the driver touches the accelerator be used. I appreciate, of course, that this will rule out about 80% of the available vehicle fleet

So what’s the solution…do nothing? Continue to allow over 50,000 people (2013 WHO figures) in Thailand to die from pollution? If sugar cane is the problem then maybe the Govt should propose an alternate crop.

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

I know you and others will say “what crop” or “it’s an economic issue”, and I get it. But if that’s the case, then the Govt should just say that and stop pretending like they are concerned about the air pollution issue. I actually feel sorry for the farmers and the Thai prople in general. They burn in order to live yet burning destroys their lungs and leads to premature deaths

It is great to have the wastes burned. It shows the organic side of a real agricultural practice. That is why everyone loves Thai rice and appreciate Thai sugar. As for the pollution, it has been burning for generations, where is the problem? Everyone is happy. If I had rice fields, I would charge tourists, especially, Westerners, to burn the wastes. Let them indulge themselves

I lived in Hawaii in the decades when sugar was the king crop on all the islands. Cane fields burned off there as well. Fortunately the Hawaiian trade winds blew it away offshore. When the trades would subside, the black ‘Hawaiian Snow’ would rain down. Last of the sugar plantations shut down in late 90s-couldn’t compete with other sugar producing countries. The former sugar lands are now a sea of overpriced cheaply built houses. The only by-product was bagasse-what was left after the cane was crushed. The old days it was used for insulation and cheap building material. Point is as long as there’s sugar growing, there’s going to be field burning

stop the burn - thai governors told to stop farmers

No alternative??? I read in other comments that 50,000 people die each year of lung disease due to smoke inhalations but the government has no way to stop the burning of the sugar cane field. Very weird, meanwhile the government has the authority to shut down the Thai economy because the Covid-19 pandemic with its 99.98% recovery rate, its 60 or 70 victims and its billions of lost income. What’s better? Get back the tourist economy and its billions of revenues (between 7% or 22% of GDP based on our experts commentators) + save the 50,000 lives + the cost associated to cure the other hundred of thousands of lung diseases or keep a blind eye for 1% of GDP represented by this polluting culture. It’s exactly the same with vehicle pollution and road accidents. Easy to enforce with proper regulations and adequate fines but there is no will for it. Again statistics between Covid-19 victims and road accidents victims are not comparable and don’t tell me the government is taking measures to protect the Thai people from Covid. Same stupidity as this “survey” about the quarantine. Did they ask the Thai people if they prefer to die from Covid, Road accidents or Air pollution based on published statistics. No it was a one way answer with no other options

Just burn all leaves, there is no other way economically feasible or cost effective. The ashes are good ingredients for the fertility of land. They are just small holders. Burning the leaves is good entertainment. Small holders should think of it. Pollution comes from vehicles and excessive plastic bags

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