The government under the leadership of the Move Forward Party (MFP) is planning to position Chiang Mai as the site for an ASEAN center, which will be dedicated to combating the serious PM2.5 pollution problem.
On Thursday, Pita Limjaroenrat, a prime ministerial candidate, discussed this pressing issue with community organizations and private and business sectors suffering from the province’s longstanding pollution problem.
Mr. Pita emphasized the necessity of increased cooperation at local, national, and international levels to tackle this large-scale problem.
He referenced the ASEAN collaboration strategy to combat international pollution issues in the region, signed in 2004, but which has yet to yield any tangible results.
He asserted, “We can use the plan as it also states establishing an ASEAN centre to fight the region’s pollution. I will push for establishing the centre in Chiang Mai.”
In addition to this, Mr. Pita vowed to utilize the International Pollution Fund to address the issue if he assumes the prime ministerial role.
He also strongly emphasized the urgent and critical necessity for the implementation of appropriate legislation, including the highly anticipated Clean Air Act.
As per the analysis by three financial institutions, the provincial economy has suffered a loss of at least 10 billion baht due to pollution, which starkly contrasts the yearly 85 million baht budget allocated by authorities to combat the issue.
Mr. Pita commented that the budget appears to have been solved, given that the problem remains unresolved.
He stated that one of the key challenges is to revamp the budgeting process or provide sufficient funds to effectively address the issue.
Somphon Anurakwanapoom, a representative of the Mae Chaem civic network, expressed the urgent need to sort out the air pollution issue.
Mr. Somphon conveyed his hope that Mr. Pita’s dedication to resolving the issue would persist.