SUNDAY, April 14, 2024

Thailand, Cambodia join hands to tackle scourge of transborder PM2.5 pollution

Thailand, Cambodia join hands to tackle scourge of transborder PM2.5 pollution

A hotline will be established between Thailand and Cambodia as part of joint efforts to tackle transborder haze pollution caused by wildfires or the burning of farm waste.

Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee on Friday phoned Cambodia’s Environment Minister Eang Sophalleth to discuss measures to prevent transboundary pollution from fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5.

Both sides have agreed to jointly work on sustainably tackling the scourge of PM2.5.

To achieve the goal of cleaner air, it was agreed that both countries would establish a hotline and a joint committee comprising officials from Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment, Jakkapong said.

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry has also expressed readiness to facilitate cooperation between both countries on such matters as the exchange of data on hotspots and the provision of tools and equipment for firefighting and farming management.

Jakkapong said the PM2.5 problem often occurs in cooler months and affects many countries in the region, adding that Thailand’s goal was to seek cooperation from neighbouring countries in tackling the problem, and Cambodia is one of them.

Thailand, Cambodia join hands to tackle scourge of transborder PM2.5 pollution

Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia, Cherdkiat Atthakor, held a separate discussion with Cambodia’s environment minister, who agreed that there was a need for his side to share information about hotspots in his country.

The Cambodian government has devised the Blue Sky campaign aimed at reducing the burning of farm waste and preventing wildfires.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Manet, meanwhile, is expected to discuss the formation of a joint task force to fight transboundary haze pollution when he meets with Thai PM Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday.

A joint study tour to an area of Sa Kaeo province that is heavily affected by PM2.5 transboundary pollution will be arranged for the two leaders during Hun Manet's visit to Thailand.

Meanwhile, satellite images provided by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) showed high levels of PM2.5 in Thailand’s Northeast on Saturday.

GISTDA uses artificial intelligence to analyse the amounts of toxic dust based on satellite images.

Six provinces in the Northeast – Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, and Roi Et – were found to have PM2.5 pollution in the “red level”, ranging between 76 and 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3).

PM2.5 above 35 µg/m3 over 24 hours is considered unhealthy and can cause health issues for people with breathing issues such as asthma.