As Koh Phuket suffers from deliberate crop burning in far-away Sumatra and Northern Thailand prepares itself for the same treatment in February and March each year, I wonder are we obsessed with fire?
Rawai Sunrise – September 2015
Rawai Sunrise – August 2015
We are human after all – or are we human at all?
Do those who cause the problems feel guilty that 50% of the people of Northern Thailand suffer from respiratory problems? If they don’t care for their own health then the answer is obvious.
In March 2014 I posted on this topic in ‘Is North Thailand a Health Hazard’ In the light of the recent fires in Indonesia it seems appropriate to air the issue once again.
In that post I wrote:
“Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai only have populations of between 2 and 3 million. Pollution is mainly caused by subsistence farmers employing outdated ‘slash and burn’ techniques used for hundreds of years to clear forest and scrub land and grow crops. The government is well aware of the dangers to health but is failing the people miserably. Together with the many ‘Forest Fire Control Centres’, throughout the provinces, the authorities are once again proving to be either unwilling or powerless to prevent the recklessness of ignorant rural people. It would seem that most have little or no concern for their own or others health and safety.”
We know that the very star that gives us life will eventually destroy us; consuming us in a fire of cataclysmic proportions.
Surely this cannot be the reason we are committed to prior self-destruction by the constant burning of our planet?
Is the knowledge that the Sun will take away the life it gives reason for our own pre-emptive strike on the World.
Forest fires, wars and crop burning rage across the world with never-ending regularity.
Despite the fact that laws are in place governments are powerless to stop the destruction of the planet by its inhabitants. Ignorance prevails and prosecutions are few and far between.
Have we such disregard for our neighbours that we continue to burn our lands and stand by as the smoke drifts on the wind thousands of miles across the seas to choke our brothers?
And let us not forget the never ending environmental problems and the silent suffering animals, birds, sea creatures and insects affected by our actions.
Despite all the knowledge at our disposal it seems we still fail to understand that we desperately need nature but nature does not need us.
An example of an Akha village, with the traditional thatched roofs, found in Laos and Northern Thailand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Hill-Tribes in the north of Thailand are industrious, quiet and respectful people. Theirs is another world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and rural towns. They live their lives in the mountains, forests and hills that make up most of the landscape of northern Thailand bordering Myanmar and Laos. Continue reading How the Hill-Tribes of Chiang Mai sell their wares
THAILAND DIARIES – VOLUME 2 – DRIVING THAILAND
Driving Thailand is the second Volume of my Thailand Diaries and is now complete. But before I publish it as my second FREE e-book I have decided to post a selection of excerpts which I hope will encourage you to download and enjoy the whole book.
NORTHERN PROVINCES – CHIANG MAI & CHIANG RAI (Part 1)
Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal. Elizabeth Aston, (The Exploits & Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy, 2005) Continue reading The best way to see Thailand – Excerpt (7)
August is annual harvest time for Lam Yai in Northern Thailand. The popular, succulent, aromatic fruit is the produce of forests of sprawling trees in the provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The month is also the middle of the monsoon but there are enough breaks in between the increasing downpours for the farmers to bring the ripe fruit down.
But there are many long faces this year as the price per kilo the wholesalers are prepared to pay the farmers is down from an average 19 baht ( 2013) to 14 baht (as I write) this harvest. It was as low as 12 baht. The farmers have no option but to accept the price offered or let the fruit rot on the trees. Leaving it on the trees for longer in the hope the price goes down is a real gamble many are taking. Casual labour remains at 300 baht a day so it’s difficult to see how anyone will make much of a profit, if at all. The fruit from one tree that would normally yield 600 baht will this year only fetch 450 baht. So that 150 baht lost is equivalent to half a day’s work.
Many of the bigger Lam Yai farms are on the hillsides where land is cheaper, rocky, there is less water and it is generally difficult and not cost effective to grow rice or vegetables. These farmers will suffer the most as the once a year Lam Yai crop is their main, if not only, source of income. A farmer with 500+ trees could be looking at a gross loss of 75,000 baht with no saving on labour or maintenance costs. Others with farms in the valley may be considered luckier as rain is plentiful enough for their two rice crops and vegetables in between. They will lose out on their Lam Yai but, fortunately, are not totally reliant on the fruit.
Lam Yai trees typically take 3 years from planting to reach maturity and yield their first fruit. It is a long investment time involving a lot of hard work feeding, watering and maintaining the trees in good health before any returns are seen.
In each village a small collection station is set up where once a day the farmers bring the fruit to be graded and sold. From there the produce is trucked to a central distribution depot where it is packaged and transported to markets all over Thailand.
Unfortunately farmers in Thailand cannot kick the habit of burning anything they don’t want despite repeated government warnings and penalties which are seldom enforced. So, just as it is in the dry season, fires pollute the air of North Thailand during August; this time with the smoke from burning Lam Yai stalks and leaves.