Special Report: Under the Haze – Demystifying the Flames

Under last year’s haze that shrouded the region and sent over two million people to hospital, concerned authorities and policymakers have started to dispel the myth that has lasted for over 16 years, demystifying it and discovering the root causes; the vastly burned forests and numerous hotspots, the endless loop of farm life poverty and inequalities and forest and fire reliance, the unregulated free market and expansion of monocropping, and last but not least, the dysfunction of the aged bureaucratic system. They are now developing a more systematic solution comprising short- and long-term measures and policies_from “catching the Big Fish” to an ongoing enactment of the country’s first Clean Air Act

With a big fire breaking out in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in the northern tourism city of Chiang Mai last dry season, Praphan Wichaidam, a village head of Pong Nuea village in Tambon Suthep instructed his villagers to lift their guard up high this year, awaiting the burning season to arrive, usually in early February.

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Piyaporn W.