Chiang Mai court accepts case against Prayut over PM2.5 pollution in the North


The Chiang Mai Administrative Court has accepted a petition filed by a group of local residents against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the National Environment Board over the increase in PM2.5 dust pollution in the northern provinces.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs blamed the prime minister and the agency, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Thai Capital Market Supervisory Board for the constant increase in PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter) pollution in 17 northern provinces over the past two months.

The plaintiffs said the prime minister and the agencies have been negligent in dealing with the problem and demanded their “right to clean air”.

PM2.5 readings show that the volume of fine dust in the air have risen beyond safety levels and pose a threat to the health of local residents.

On many occasions, Chiang Mai and other northern cities saw their PM2.5 readings jump, putting them among the world’s top 10 cities with dangerously high dust pollution.

PM2.5 dust has been blamed mainly on the practice of burning of farm waste by local farmers, both in Thailand and in neighbouring countries. In Thailand, most of the burning “hot spots” were detected in the northern parts of the country.

The court on Friday accepted the case against PM Prayut and the National Environment Board while rejecting the case against the two other agencies.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs demanded that the prime minister exercise his power under Article 9 of the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act to help ease the PM2.5 problem.

The plaintiffs also demanded that the National Environment Board strictly implement the national plan to tackle dust pollution declared by this government in 2019.