Contributing Factors and Impacts of Open Burning in Thailand: Perspectives from Farmers in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Background: Open burning is a major cause of air pollution resulting in several public health problems and death. It is a source of haze smoke in northern Thailand. There is a general perception that highland minorities are the major contributors to open burning in Northern Thailand. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate perspective on factors contributing to open burning behavior among farmers and impacts of open burning in Northern Thailand.
Methods: A qualitative study was carried out through in-depth interview and focus group discussions to find out the perspectives of farmers on factors contributing to open burning behavior and the impacts in northern Thailand. In-depth interview was conducted twice with 6 participants. Focus group was conducted four times with 42 participants including hill tribe and Thai farmers at hill tribe and Thai villages in Chiang Rai province.
Results: Factors like environmental health literacy, finance, culture and large scale farming, contribute to open burning behavior among farmers in northern Thailand. The rules against open burning of farm residues have not been fully effective. Open burning is still allowed; the only difference is time allowed to burn residues, especially in the highland areas.
Conclusion: Regardless of policies and efforts towards resolving the challenge of open burning, compared to previous years, open burning is on the increase, particularly in forested areas. Previous approaches towards tackling the issue have been viewed to be top-down. In light of this, a review of present policies, and making policies more all-inclusive, will provide new and perhaps more effective ways of managing the challenge of open burning.
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