Farmers burn straw fields, leaving smoke-filled sky in Sisaket district
Two villagers in a Sisaket district said farmers set fire to dried straw in paddy fields to enable them to plough the land and grow fresh crops without taking into consideration the pollution caused by the burning smoke, ecological destruction or the inevitable death of small creatures.
On January 13, a lot of smoke was found rising into the sky over rice fields in Prang Ku district, with only three houses nearby.
Two villagers explained that as farmers wished to plant replacement crops during the dry season, they had to burn the straw in the field first, otherwise the fields cannot be ploughed because of the grass compacting with scraps of straw in the soil after harvesting. Therefore, they had to set fire to the dried straw.
The farmers also said the reason why the straw had to be burned before ploughing was because new crop seeds will not shoot up and grow well.
The men didn’t think the fires would cause pollution, “because it burned in the fields with no other houses nearby”. Neither did they think it would cause ecological destruction or kill small creatures.
In the northeast, burning straw in rice fields before ploughing is popular. This comes despite a campaign by provincial administrations to stop the burning as it causes severe air pollution and kills small animals that live in rice fields, besides damaging top-soil fertility.