Oh, they will flood those fields - but not before all the straw and leaves have burned and the air has distributed the ashes as fine dust particles and the soil has been hardened even more by the fire. Just make them understand that it were better to dig that rock hard soil around to make the straw and leaves go underneath. Another effect they expect from the fire is the killing of rodents and other small animals which might pose a threat to the next crop.
Waste burning in a paddy field in Nakhon Ratchasima (file photo)
Concentrations of PM2.5 dust have risen across 18 provinces in the North and Northeast, as farmers begin to set fire to their agricultural waste to prepare for next season's crops, the Pollution Control Department said yesterday.
The department said that higher-than-average levels of the harmful, ultra-fine pollutants were reported in Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phrae, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Tak, Phetchabun, Saraburi, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Khon Kaen, Roi Et, Chaiyaphum, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces.
One of the major contributors to the increasing dust pollution, the department said, is open burning by farmers who are preparing their land for planting.
The other major source of PM2.5 pollutants, it said, is sugar cane plantations, as many growers choose to burn the leaves off the plant before harvesting the sugar-bearing stalks in order to save time and money.
The average level of PM2.5 dust in the North hovered between 35-85 microgrammes per cubic metre (μg/m³) on Tuesday, according to data released by the Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation.
In the Northeast, the levels ranged between 40-99μg/m³ on Tuesday, while in the West the range hovered between 13-59μg/m³.
In the East and South, PM2.5 levels were quite low, ranging between 14-40μg/m³ and 5-20μg/m³, respectively. In Bangkok and its immediate vicinity, the levels were recorded at between 15-43μg/m³.
People in areas where PM2.5 pollution is bad have been advised to monitor their health and reduce time spent on outdoor activities, especially the elderly, children, and patients with respiratory diseases.