Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has come up with an innovative project to transform natural waste, such as dried leaves in forests, into a renewable energy source. They have set a target, for 17 northern provinces, to convert 100 tonnes of dried leaves per day into solid fuel.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa says that project could help reduce hotspots during the dry season by as much as 20% and, consequently, ease the problem of dust particles, especially PM2.5, in the atmosphere.
Instead of burning dried leaves in the forests, he said that utilizing the waste would be more sensible and could provide a new source of income for rural people.
The minister said that the nine northern provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phayao and Phitsanuloke, where most hotspots arerecorded each year, have been chosen to trial the project, with the participation of rural residents.
He also said that the ministry has approached companies,involved in the conversion of natural waste into fuel, to purchase at least 100 tonnes of dried leaves from each of the nine provinces on a daily basis.
He said the ministry is in the process of expanding a people’s network to fight forest fires and protect the forests in their respective areas, after the ministry transferred the responsibility for forest fire management to local administrations.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)