Local sugarcane growers in Nakhon Sawan, central Thailand, are burning their fields at night despite authorities’ ban on the practice.
It appears little to nothing is being done to curb the practice which is one of the main causes, if not the main cause, of the smoke and haze problems in various parts of the country throughout the year.
And the farmers are just taking advantage of the lack of enforcement.
Bottomline, it saves farmers money and the labourers say they prefer collecting burnt sugarcane rather than fresh canes.
They say the fresh cane is full of leaves and snakes. By burning the huge average of plantations across the region they avoid the long wait time for harvesting machines.
The harvesting machines are in short supply. Last year there were promises of the government buying shared harvesters for the sugar cane farmers but nothing appears to have transpired and the farmers are just reverting to they old habits of clearing paddocks with burning.
Farmers say simply seating fire to the fields and burning the cane before harvest saves time and money.
Despite doing the burins at night, when farmers believe they will avoid the notice of the sleeping authorities, they are providing easy to locate burn-offs.
Authorities banned field burning late last year in a bid to control the hazardous fine smoke particles that were drifting into highly populated city areas.
Today Chiang Mai has ended up as the 6th most polluted city in the world.
An Airvisual map shows multiple fires underway around central Thailand today and the Nakhon Sawan air quality station with a reading of 152 as of lunchtime today.