A Chiang Mai court has issued a directive that requires the government to develop a comprehensive plan within the next 90 days to combat the annual surge in harmful haze impacting air quality during the early months of the year, primarily caused by agricultural burning, industrial emissions, and vehicle exhaust.
Bangkok and Chiang Mai have been at the center of this environmental crisis. In response, approximately 1,700 individuals, including activists, academics from Chiang Mai University, and local residents, filed a lawsuit against responsible state agencies for their failure to address the persistent smog problem in the region.
The plaintiffs demanded that the Prime Minister use the powers granted under Section 9 of the 1992 Environmental Quality Promotion and Protection Act, which pertains to serious disaster situations, and insisted that the commission follow the government’s 2019 action plan for dust control.
The Chiang Mai Administrative Court’s ruling on Friday (Jan 19) compels the National Environmental Commission to outline preventive measures for both short and long-term pollution solutions within 90 days.
The government, led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, has committed to making air pollution control a major priority. A proposed Clean Air Act, supported by the Cabinet, recently passed its first reading in parliament.
Bangkok, as of early Friday morning, was ranked 10th globally for poor air quality, as reported by IQAir, a firm that monitors air pollution.