Laos seeks ways to tackle air pollution

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 26, 2023
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VIENTIANE, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Lao authorities from the forestry and environment sectors have discussed ways to tackle severe air pollution, which typically occurs at the start of the year when farmers burn fields and scrubland prior to planting new crops.

According to a report issued by the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on Thursday, authorities from Phongsaly, Xayaboury, Vientiane, Salavan, Bolikhamxay provinces and the Lao capital Vientiane, discussed the problems associated with air pollution and the effects on people's health, at a meeting held last Thursday.

The meeting provided an overview of the problems and effects of smog, and air pollution research results, and discussed the national action plan and other operations to prevent, prepare for and cope with air pollution.

The meeting was hosted by the Natural Resources and Environment Research Institute and the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The ministry officials said those attending the meeting gained a deeper understanding of the health effects caused by smog resulting from forest fires and the burning of garbage by households.

Farmers burn agricultural land for several days in a row, which combines with the dry weather, causes smoke to linger in the air for weeks on end, with particles of ash clearly visible.

Officials agreed to find ways to prevent and deal with wildfires, including building public awareness about the short-term and long-term harmful effects of air pollution.

It was agreed that decentralized management would enable better regulation of scrub burning and forest fires. Local officials were advised to ensure they had the necessary equipment available to extinguish fires as soon as they were detected and prevent them from getting out of control.

Budgets should also be prepared so that the necessary funding for this work will be available. Families living near protected forest areas should be informed of the risks when setting fires and advised about precautions to take.

Following the meeting, the Natural Resources and Environment Research Institute will devise a plan to deal with forest fires in the dry season, aiming to reduce the number of fires by 35 percent by the end of 2025, according to the report.

In March 2023, many parts of Laos were covered in a thick haze with PM 2.5 levels greatly exceeding safe levels, adversely affecting people's health and reducing visibility in some places. The dust was caused by forest fires in many areas of the country. Enditem

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