Department of Pollution Control targets sugarcane burning as major cause of smog, financial aid to be given to farmers for alternative ways to resolve problem

BANGKOK (NNT) – The Department of Pollution Control has reported the burning of sugarcane in plantations to prepare for a new planting season has been a major cause of PM 2.5 airborne dust, particularly from December to April during which sugarcane in plantations is harvested. The burning activity is likely to have a severe effect in the dry season when there’s low humidity in the air.

Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit recently discussed the matter with four organizations representing sugarcane planters: the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters; the Northeastern Sugarcane Planters Association; the United Association of Sugarcane Planters of Thailand and the Federation of Sugarcane Planters of Thailand. The Ministry of Industry plans to assist sugarcane planters by providing financial assistance in aid for a ton of fresh sugarcane bound for sugar making factories.

The Office of the Sugarcane and Sugar Committee, is to propose measures to provide a sum of 10 billion baht in immediate aid to sugarcane planters in the 2019/2020 season. The sum will be divided into two parts – one amounting to 6.5 billion baht for aid in sugarcane production and the other amounting to 3.5 billion baht for planters who harvest fresh sugarcane.

The planters who have harvested fresh sugarcane and supplied it to sugar factories will be given over 1,000 baht per ton, meaning their fresh sugarcane will receive about 130 baht more than burnt sugarcane per ton. The measures are part of the effort to reduce PM 2.5 airborne dust particles and alleviate the woes of the sugarcane planters. About 50% of all sugarcane supplied to sugar factories is expected to be fresh sugarcane this year.

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