Campaigners short on concrete environmental plans, say critics

national March 18, 2019 11:27

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE NATION

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THE PARTIES campaigning for votes in next Sunday’s election are not presenting sufficiently concrete |policies to protect the environment, specialists have noted.



Sonthi Kotchawat

Sonthi Kotchawat, an independent expert on environmental health, said yesterday the parties’ policies cover only some environmental issues and fail to address others. 

“I’ve heard only a few parties presenting clear environmental policies. The rest don’t really have any policies on the environment,” he said.

Some candidates have cited the need to create more green spaces or encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles, he said, but many other environmental issues are going unmentioned.

“And the policies we’re hearing aren’t sufficiently inclusive or good enough to properly solve the problems,” Sonthi noted.

“Cleaner fuels and electric cars would improve the haze problem in Bangkok, for instance, but what about the smog elsewhere? How do the parties plan to control outdoor burning and trans-boundary haze in sustainable ways?”

Sonthi urged the parties to share their stances on managing forestland and other natural resources. He would like to see clear, fair and sustainable regulations for preserving natural resources.

Dr Rungsrit Kanjanavanit

Seub Nakhasathien Foundation deputy chairman Dr Rungsrit Kanjanavanit commented on the larger number of parties with environmental issues in their campaigns compared to past elections. But many important issues are still absent from mainstream campaigning, he said, such as sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and public participation in the management of natural resources.

“I would like the parties to be more focused on creating a mechanism for advancing the country on the path of sustainable development, because we’re facing more and more-serious environmental problems nowadays,” Rungsrit said.

“I also would like to see the next administration have policies that prioritise protecting us from pollution. The present authorities are failing to deal properly with problems such as the recurring PM2.5 crisis in the North and are thus putting public health and safety in danger.”

He said the parties should also present policies that could be realistically implemented. Only that would ensure the problems are ultimately resolved.

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