BANGKOK: A Thai court on Friday (Jan 19) ordered the government to come up with an urgent plan to curb air pollution within 90 days, as the kingdom braces for its annual peak of noxious haze.
Air quality plummets in Thailand in the early months of the year as smoke from farmers burning stubble adds to industrial emissions and vehicle exhaust fumes.
Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai ranked among the world’s most polluted cities on some days last year, prompting a group of people to bring a legal case to get the government to act.
The Chiang Mai administrative court on Friday ordered the National Environmental Commission to present “preventive methods to solve pollution both short and long term” within 90 days.
The court ruled that the previous government of prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, accused by the claimants of “neglecting his duty”, had not moved quickly enough to tackle pollution.
“After consideration, the defendants neglected their duties and acted too slowly,” the court ruling said.
The government of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, which took over in August, has promised to tackle air pollution as a “national agenda”.
A draft Clean Air Act endorsed by Srettha’s cabinet, aimed at tackling the problem, passed its first reading in parliament on Wednesday.
Early on Friday morning, Bangkok was 10th in the list of cities with the worst air quality around the world, according to air pollution monitoring firm IQAir.