In a significant move, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin granted approval for the air cleanliness bill proposed by the Move Forward party during his visit to Chiang Mai province today. The prime minister has directed the bill to be included on the parliamentary agenda for forthcoming debates, marking a crucial step towards addressing the escalating air pollution crisis.
Previously, the House had included two similar bills—one initiated by the cabinet and another by a people’s network—on its agenda, omitting the proposal put forth by the Move Forward party. This exclusion had sparked resentment among party members, setting the stage for a more nuanced discussion during parliamentary deliberations.
On Tuesday, the cabinet endorsed the government’s air cleanliness bill, which underwent a rigorous public hearing process and received scrutiny from the Council of State. This bill, along with the two others, is set to lay the foundation for comprehensive discussions within the parliament.
The proposed legislation outlines short, medium, and long-term measures to combat the pervasive PM2.5 problem, with the overarching goal of ensuring clean air for public safety.
However, concerns have been raised about certain clauses within the government-sponsored bill that may potentially infringe on individuals’ rights and liberties, safeguarded by the Constitution. Proponents argue that these provisions are essential to addressing air pollution at its roots, aiming to prevent its spread in ways that could jeopardize the environment and public safety.
The bill further seeks to enhance air quality assessment, monitoring, and early warning systems. Notably, it introduces both criminal and civil liabilities for violators, who, if convicted, could face jail terms of up to one year and/or fines of 100,000 baht. Additionally, daily fines of up to 10,000 baht may be imposed until the pollution issue is effectively resolved.
Owners of properties or factories located outside Thai territory, contributing to air pollution within the kingdom, could face hefty fines of two million baht, with an additional daily fine of one million baht upon conviction. These stringent measures underscore the government’s commitment to combating air pollution and holding those responsible accountable for their environmental impact.
The approval of the Move Forward party’s air cleanliness bill by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin marks a pivotal development in Thailand’s efforts to address the pressing issue of air pollution. The parliamentary debates that will follow are anticipated to shed light on the intricacies of the proposed legislation and its potential impact on public safety and environmental well-being.