CityNews – 17th March 2016 US Consul General Michael Heath hosted a group of about two dozen interested parties to a panel discussion after watching an updated version of Marisa Marchitelli’s film Smoke: A Crisis in Northern Thailand.
“We can all see that the pollution is better this year than last,” said Heath in an opening speech, “but whether, or how much, that can be attributed to the government’s efforts we are unsure.” The US Consulate General says that the United States government has recently donated 70,000 USD to Warm Heart Foundation, a non-profit organisation which is currently pioneering the research as well as implementation of bio char as a solution to the pollution problems. Read about it here.
The US Consulate is also publishing daily reports of the PM2.5 levels on its Facebook page to keep the public informed, though says that credit for this should be given to local authorities who post original data on their site.
“Things are happening,” said Marchitelli who was interviewed in Citylife in February. “People are connecting to each other, ideas are being shared and spread about and important people are taking this seriously.” Since the release of the film less than two months ago, she said, it has been shown in many local Thai schools, and has inspired Chiang Mai resident Clyde Fowle, who has recently retired from McMillan Publishing, to create a Thai language lesson plan to teach children about pollution. She went on to say that she moderated a discussion recently with a group from the Young President Organisation, an organisation of peers who reached great wealth or success at a young age, about the pollution problems. As a result, the group has pledged to fund an awareness campaign. Not only that, a journalist from Singapore’s Straights Time is currently working on an in-depth article about this issue, focusing on Chiang Mai.