Could this be Thailand’s Last Burning Season?
All over Thailand people are experiencing major health issues due to the air but this year Chiangmai was the worst in the world with an Air Quality Index of 500+ during the dry season of March-April 2023. The children and the elderly are most affected by this bad air during the dry season.
As reported in the Bangkok Post on 24 April 2023, Chiangmai tourism was badly hit by smog. Severe haze pollution has also posed health hazards to residents in Chiangmai. Concerned parties have urged the government to come up with long-term measures…
According to a Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda) report, Suomi NPP satellite images showed that from January until April 2023, Myanmar had the most hotspots among Thailand’s neighbours with 275,000 hotspots, followed by Laos with 220,000, Thailand with 154,000, and Cambodia with 100,700.
In the upper North, Chiangmai recorded the most with 12,000 during the four-month period. Over 150,000 rai of land were destroyed by fires which were spotted in forest reserves and national forest park areas. This caused PM2.5 levels to exceed standard safety levels for more than 70 days in a row, with a worsening Air Quality index (AQI).
From early March to mid April, PM2.5 levels and the worsening AQI in Chiangmai province, ranked top among the world’s worst air pollution, far exceeding the standard level of 50mg/m3 of the World Health Organisation.
Health Risks : Because of this air pollution Dr Rangsarit Kanchanawanich, a cardiologist at Chiangmai University, said that Chiangmai residents face an increasing risk of Lung Cancer, heart diseases, strokes and shortening lifespans by 4 to 5 years.
Chalerm Liwsrisakun, head of its Internal Medicine said PM2.5 pollution easily enters the bloodstream and harms the heart and brain.
According to the Chiangmai Public Health Office, about 30,000 patients suffer increasingly from diseases caused by air pollution during January to April each year. These are mostly suffering from skin disease with more than 10,000, followed by 8,000 with chronic obstructive Lungs, 5,700 with eye inflammation, 3,800 from strokes, 3500 from sore throats.
According to Chatchawal Thongdeelert, president of the Chiang Mai Breath Council, a gap in attitudes and understanding remains between local communities whose livelihoods rely mainly on forests and the government oriented to law enforcement, like imposing a ban on burning.
Contract crop farming : Mr Chatchawal said an agro-industry company has encouraged farmers to grow maize for livestock feeding for export, with increasing amounts of farmland converted and forests encroached. Of the 7.8 million rai of growing maize (corn) nationwide, 4.5 million rai are located in the North. So, after the harvest season, farmers simply cut and burn the crop residues to clear land for the next crop despite the ban on burning because they know no other method,” he said, adding that man-made fires caused by burning on their farmland also spreads to adjacent forest land. Furthermore, the problem is compounded by transboundary haze from neighbouring countries where the slash-and-burn practice also occurs as the same company encouraging farmers to grow maize as animal feed.
So, people are calling for the quick passage of the proposed Clean Air Bill to solve the problem.
But, we have a sustainable solution called Pyramid Composting.
Our sustainable solution is called PYRAMID COMPOSTING.
The main advantage of this Pyramid Compost technique is that you do not have to turn the compost pile at all. Therefore, anyone can do it. Just water the pile every day and dig some holes in it (with pipes) for better oxygen every 10 days. See? That’s not hard at all…
Compost activities and achievements since 2010
Khun Amporn Boontan from Sankhampeng started this organic compost project in 2010 on her own after being trained by Prof. Teerapong Sawangpanyanggool at Maejo University in Chiangmai, Thailand.
The main problem she encountered was to motivate people to make organic compost but she found several ingenious ways to motivate them.
1. Initially : Khun Amporn gave free Pyramid compost which she made herself to rice farmers in Huaysai and Ontai villages in Sankampeng district of Chiangmai. When they harvested their organic rice, they shared some with her, which helped to finance the next compost piles. But it was never enough.
2. Village Leaf Collection : Khun Amporn gave one bag of free Pyramid compost for 3 big bags of dried leaves or other garden refuse in Huaysai, to motivate every household to stop burning every day (the smoke keeps mosquitos away).
3. Children involvement : Early 2013 during Thai summer school holidays, K. Amporn taught the children in the Huaysai school to collect dry leaves and make their own Pyramid compost, which they could sell themselves at the end of the school holidays at about 10 Baht per kilo. These 10,000 Baht of extra income is a lot of money, it keeps the kids out of mischief while helping their parents to finance their children’s education expenses. Making extra money is a great motivating factor. But it does not seem to be enough…
Hangdong : In 2013, Amporn taught the gardeners at the Huaydindam Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in Nampreh-Hangdong, how to make their own compost piles as they take care of a big 200 rai garden.
So we bought dried cowdung (100 bags at 35 Bt per bag = 3500 Bt) for three big Pyramid compost piles 4m long x 2.5m wide, 1.5m high. Each pile required at least 3 big pick-up trucks of garden refuse (leaves, grass, rice stems, corn cobs…). After two months, this fabulous organic compost was returned to the land. More importantly, the Rehab Center gardeners continue to make compost all year round…
5. In May 2014 K. Amporn also taught 20 members of the Lanna Gardening Club how to make this wonderful Pyramid Compost. Most participants were expatriates living in Chiangmai, from Switzerland, Germany, Holland, USA and France.
6. In 2014, she sold all 16 tons of compost we made not including the two piles in Huaydindam which were returned to the garden.
7. In 2015 : during the dry season (first 10 weeks), we made over 40 heaps of compost, with each 6 big truck loads of dried leaves etc. This means a total of 240 big trucks of leaves which have NOT been burned. This involved an investment of 40 heaps x 30 bags x 30 Baht = 36,000 Baht for dried cowdung alone plus our time and efforts to train people how to do this.
8. Expansion to Shan State in Burma : K. Amporn also supports a (Tai Yai) Burmese national who went back home in March 2015 to introduce this Pyramid Compost Technique in this neighbouring country where burning is practiced during the dry season..
9. Since 2016 Amporn has been teaching the easy-to-do Pyramid Compost technique to villagers in Hangdong’s Nampreh and Maekhanin villages, as well as Saraphee districts of Chiangmai. For this, she used either the small green netting which everyone can use at home, or the bigger compost piles.
10. Compost Trainings and other activities 2017 : To give you an idea what our compost and other activities are every yearduring the first 5 months
2 Jan : at Huaysai Sankampheng, Compost = Extra income.
23 Jan : Training the Leaders @ Doizew Village, Sankhampheng
26 – 30 Jan : participating at Nakornsawan Health Fair
4 Feb : participating at City Life Fair, Chiangmai
6 Feb : Back to Nature with Cacao planting @ KM Home, Maeteng
10 Feb : Trash separation talk and Compost making
19 Feb : Compost training @ Phonmongjaan.
2 March : Meet with Organic farmers Team in Huaysaai
3 March : Talk to 80 Health Volunteers: Trash Management & Pyramid Compost in Chiangmai KM Home Farmers (with Khun Kamala)
5.3 : Exchanged organic orange peel for Pyramid Compost @ Meechoke Market, Chiangmai
11.3 : Compost training at Kasem Store community, Chiangmai.
12.3 : Compost training at Meechoke Organic Community.
15.3 : Compost training at Innet.
17.3.: Compost training opposite Muanglen temple, Sansai
18.3 : Compost training with Karn Nantakarn Kesorn
29.3 : Compost training at AHAC with Joanne K and Thomasz
30.3.: Brainstorming in our liveable Community by local government staff.
31.3 : Teaching how to make small compost piles with Nets.
1 & 2.4: joined the 3rd International Conference Asia Today at Maejo University + giving free Reiki to participants.
3.4 : Joined “From Organic Seeds to better Health at Maejo University
7.4 : Making Bio-Dynamic Compost at AHAC (Pyramid + Biochar)
9.4 : Giving Compost training at Chiangmai University (Dentistry Dpt) with Aj. Sasitorn Chaiprasitti. This university has big gardens with lots of leaves.
24.4: Giving training on Tricoderma Fungus
30.4 : Compost Leader Training at Maejo University with Aj. Teerapong
5.5 Giving Compost Training @ Doisaket Novice School
11.5 Giving Compost Training @ Doisaket Novice School with villagers.
18.5 Compost training and Biochar burning @ Doisaket Nongbua temple. This was a group effort by several communities in Doisaket District, North of Chiangmai, and more…
If you want to share this Pyramid Compost techique with your gardeners, we have a poster in Thai with pictures and clear explanations how to make this wonderful Pyramid Compost at home. We are happy to share this with you for FREE.
Or they can watch this video in Thai…
LEAF COLLECTION AND PROCESSING STATION : Since 2022, Amporn set-up this station in Hangdong Nampreh with a huge Kubota grinding and mixing machine which can handle many tons per hour. Khun Su, a kind neighbour and landowner, agreed to let us use her land for these activities.
You can bring the leaves by yourselves to the Leaf Station, or Amporn can arrange to pick them from the surrounding villages for a small fee to cover the petrol and labour cost which many people are glad to pay to get rid of their garden waste and to help clean the air. This fee will of course depend on the number of bags to be collected.
Details about the Pyramid Compost Technique
Pyramid composting is a powerful technique which has been developed by Prof. Teeraphan at Maejo university in Chiangmai. Its main ingredients are:
– Leaves, garden wastes like corn shells, mushroom shells from farmers
– Dried Cowdung (which does not smell bad at all)
– and lots of Water
The interesting part of the Pyramid compost technique is that it involves very little labor as you don’t need to turn the compost piles at all. Just water it every day for 2 months and poke some holes every 10 days.
After 2 months, you will get a great compost ready to be used or for sale. If you do not water every day, it will take a bit longer.
Main Advantages of this Pyramid Thermophilic composting
– The high temperatures will kill diseases that adapted to live around human body temperature.
– You can make compost anywhere, without using electricity.
– Compost that stays at 50°C (122°F) for 24 hours will be safe to grow food. A temperature of 46°C (115°F) will kill pathogens within a week. At 62°C (143.6°F) it will kill pathogens within one hour.
The Heat-loving bacteria that make compost need oxygen. To achieve this, you can include some coarse materials like hay when building the compost pile. This will create little pockets of air.
With this technique and this size, you will get about 1 ton of excellent compost that contains N P K = 1.5 – 0.5 – 0.5 (Nitrogen, Potassium, Kieserite), as well as minor ingredients like Calcium, Magnesium, Boron, Molybdenum and others which :
1. help plants to grow,
2. will soften the soil
3. and allow plant roots to grow deeper and seek their own food.
The main chemical fertiliser farmers use is Urea which contains only nitrogen but this dries out the soil and is harmful for the ecology.
What is Compost (/ˈkɒmpɒst/ or /ˈkɒmpoʊst/) is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil improvement. It is a key ingredient in organic farming.
Modern composting methods use a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials.
The Pyramid Compost system was developed by Maejo University’s Professor Teerapong Sawangpanyanggool in 2009. This Pyramid system is by far the easiest and fastest way to make compost, involving very little labour and time and generating an excellent, nutrient rich compost with a pleasant earthly smell within two months.
The objective of this Pyramid system is to:
Reduce the field burning which affects the air quality and thereby the people’s health.
Reduce the processing time : it normally takes 6 months to 1 year to make compost, but only 2 months with the Pyramid system.
Reduce Global warming from open burning
Reduce high labour cost as traditional compost piles require turning them every three days. This stopped farmers to make compost. So they bought the chemical fertilizer as it takes less time and would therefore be cheaper.
To teach more villagers to make more compost, we need to buy more dried cowdung which costs every time at least 3500 Baht + transport cost.
To keep them motivated, we also need to buy back the surplus compost they make and not use themselves. They are farmers and not business people! And we will need a place to store all this compost. That is a lot of invested money.
If you want to learn how to make the Pyramid Compost, we organize regular classes in English or Thai at the newly established Leaf Station in Hangdong Nampreh (behind the Detox Factory).
For more information about the Pyramid Compost, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]
We hope that this information will help you to understand what we are trying to do here and especially will motivate you to join us!
We believe in teaching by doing. But Amporn cannot do it alone.
We need your help!
To help us grow bigger, we propose The Clean Air Bond as a Triple Bottom Line solution. We are not asking for donations.
We want to set-up a Social Enterprise that provides many other benefits:
1.Cleaning the Air : Each ton of compost reduces the PM2.5 μg/m3 by _______
2. Paying the farmers more to produce organic food instead of draining the soil with chemical fertilisers and polluting the air.
3. Generate income: the main reason farmers burn is that it’s easier. We motivate them to see Composting as Money Making…
4. The Clean Air Bond basically pays them to NOT burn and incentivizes them to produce organic food that replenishes the soil and cleans the air.
5. Providing a return for investors : to be sustainable, this project cannot solely depend on goodwill donations. As a social enterprise, enough profit can be created so that every investor will receive a guaranteed return within 2 years of investment.
6. To eliminate the burning season, we need to buy and store many tons from the compost makers to keep them motivated. Simply because they are farmers and not business people…
This could be Thailand’s last burning season.
Imagine clean air for us and our children starting now.
Imagine a Thailand where people are happy to visit and raise their families.
Where does your money go exactly?
1. Every 1000 THB buys 30 bags of dried cowdung and 100 bags of plant matter which would normally be burnt, adding 3kgs of PM2.5 and 420 kgs of greenhouse gases.
2. It costs an additional 4000 THB of labor to transform the raw material into 1 ton of compost during 2 months by using the Pyramid Compost Technique.
3. Each ton of organic compost can be sold for about 10,000 THB.
4. A substantial part of the profits is reinvested into the Compost program and shared with investors.
5. After two years the initial investment is returned along with a profit share.
6. If we can buy the crops waste BEFORE they are burnt into smog we can keep the air cleaner and generate more income for everyone.
Help us by investing in the Clean Air Bond as soon as possible by investing in one compost pile which costs about 5000 Baht that’s only 140 US$/EU to make and maintain… Here’s how:
Fill out the form below. Make sure to use the same email address that is attached to your payment info so we can track your investment.
After completing the form you’ll see methods of investment:
Keep up to date with the Clean Air Bond news via the the Pyramid Compost Learning Center on Facebook and by periodic email updates.
If we do nothing, nothing will happen.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The solution exists. It just needs more support.
We can end the burning season together.
Please Invest in the Clean Air Bond today.