Amidst the pressing air quality crisis, particularly the serious and widespread repercussions of PM2.5 throughout Thailand, the Thai government, in col-laboration with various stakeholders including academics and civil society organizations, is actively and diligently working towards the enactment of the proposed Clean Air Act (“Bill”) which aims to systematically reduce pollution and mitigate its effects. The following is a summary of the current draft provisions which are open to further refine-ment based on input and feedback from relevant stakeholders.


Fundamental Rights – The Rights to Clean Air: The Bill is developed from the people’s right to access unpolluted air, commonly known as the right to clean air. Moreover, the Bill stipulates that individuals have the right to access crucial information regarding pollution and air quality, which impact their well-being. The Bill further provides the right to monitor, and protect themselves and others from the threat of air pollution, including the right to participate in government decision-making processes concerning air quality.

Supremacy of the Clean Air Act: Prior to the introduction of the Bill, measures to combat air pollution were dispersed across various pieces of legislation, with specific measures applying to certain types of activities. To avoid potential overlaps between the Bill and existing legislation, the Bill asserts its supremacy. In cases where existing laws or regulations set air pollution standards or measures that are less stringent than those prescribed by the Bill, the Bill’s provisions will take precedence.

Control Mechanisms: The Bill proposes specific measures and management methods for four cat-egories of air pollution sources, namely permanent pollution sources, open burning, vehicle pollution, and cross-border pollution.

Economic instruments and measures: To incentivize public efforts towards achieving clean air, the Bill introduces economic instruments and meas-ures, including (i) tax and fee incentives (including additional taxes and fees imposed on the owners or possessors of air pollution sources); (ii) the imple-mentation of cap-and-trade system at national or local levels; (iii) subsidies for air pollution reduction or prevention efforts; and (iv) mandatory security to be placed by businesses identified as signifi-cant sources of pollution harmful to air quality or public health.

Penalties: The environmental law principle of “polluter-pays” has been incorporated into the Bill, imposing civil penalties for non-compliance and mandating compensation to rectify the consequences arising from the non-compliance. Fines and imprisonment will be imposed on owners or possessors of pollution sources. The Bill adopts a strict liability principle for cross-border pollution, presuming owners or possessors of pollution sources outside the country to be accountable for air pollution within Thailand, subjecting them to substantial fines.

With active and ongoing refinement of this Bill, the path to clean air in Thailand is within reach, promising a brighter and healthier future for gen-erations to come.


Nuanporn Wechsuwanarux