I will state again my position on noise and air pollution. There needs to be an integral effort of public education, law enforcement and peer pressure. Just complaining won’t get us anything but disrespect.

I agree with the post that said don’t re-invent the wheel. The approach to these problems has been worked out successfully in many countries and cities. I grew up where pollution was rampant; doing landscaping work in Los Angeles in 1972 I could not take a deep breath without pain by early afternoon, my eyes burned and I felt sick every day until I got off work and went to the beach where the offshore wind from the Pacific Ocean offered better air quality.

But I lived to see the ‘Clean Air Act’, burning and vehicle emissions restrictions, noise pollution laws, and a reversal of conditions to achieve a more tolerable level. This reversal was due to progressive enactment of strong laws and enforcement, along with determined, continuing public education in many forms. But it didn’t come quickly or easily or cheaply, and it certainly did not come without resistance and large scale disregard for the laws and regulations. And that resistance and disregard continues and has to be dealt with all along the way.

Any group that wants to facilitate change needs to offer a positive approach, and offer to help with the solution.

  1. creating and publishing of promotional/educational materials, posters for villages, booklets for schools, review of the laws and reasons for the laws, and building of peer pressure to conform.
  2. organizing of educational meetings for schools, tambons, police units, forestry officers, school teachers and others.
  3. advertising budget for TV presentations that hammer in the message, newspaper ads that run forever and do the same. These should be done with a varied creative attention-catching themes. Like the American “Smokey the Bear” spokesman figure for forest fire prevention. Or the owl that says “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute’
  4. The area of Tambon Papai where I live, is at least somewhat pro burning regulations. I was at home the other day talking with a neighbor who is active in local administration. Another neighbor started up a garbage burn pile with plastic and billowing black smoke. The first neighbor ran down there and insisted that she put out the fire and warned her of a 1000 baht fine if she did it again. He then reported it to the village head man. A nearby land owner started a brush clearing burn at night; two of my Thai neighbor’s jumped on their motorbikes and found the person responsible for the burning, they called the fire department and had it put out. So it’s happening; I didn’t see this kind of compliance or peer involvement two or three years ago.
  5. I don’t see any posters with phone numbers to report burning. That would be a great first step for support group involvement, design and printing of posters to be distributed to villiages. Student groups could be enlisted through a poster design contest and to post flyers and/or hand them out door to door and talk to people at a local level.

Author: Don Lee Cox
Consulting Arborist – Plant Health Care – Tree Maintenance
International Society of Arboriculture – Certified Arborist
International Society of Tropical Foresters – Urban Forestry Specialist