Vol. 11 Issue 1 Jan.-Mar. 2020

Parisa Shokoohinia, Nosha Assareh, Kasemsan Manomaiphiboon*, Chatinai Chusai3, Supachita Kerkkaiwan Kessinee Unapumnuk and Nishit Aman

Abstract: This study investigated the impact of transboundary smoke haze from Indonesia on air quality in Southern Thailand, with focus on Songkhla and Phuket provinces. Long-term PM10 (particulate matter whose size is no larger than 10 µm) and visibility data were considered. It was found that elevated PM10 tends to occur in the haze-prone period (May-November) and be more induced in strong El Nino years (here, 1997 and 2015), with PM10 degradation at Songkhla being more pronounced than at Phuket. The seasonality of monthly mean PM10 and VISd is not as apparent as that of the high-end and low-end percentiles respectively, suggesting a high degree of episodicity for the PM10 problem. Elevated PM10 episodes at Songkhla and Phuket were identified by examining daily PM10 time series. Kinematic back-trajectory results simulated for individual elevated PM10 episodes during the haze-prone period (42 and 4 episodes at Songkhla and Phuket, respectively) show that the majority of the episodes (63% at Songkhla and 100% at Phuket) have back-trajectories passing over fire cluster(s) located in Sumatra or Borneo and often associated with the warm (El Nino) or neutral phases of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation or ENSO. This evidently affirms the potential transboundary smoke haze from biomass burning in Indonesia, which induces elevated PM10 in Southern Thailand.  

Keywords: Smoke haze, back-trajectory, PM10 exceedance, biomass burning, El Nino.  

Chit Oo Ko, Piyanon Haputta and Shabbir H. Gheewala*

Abstract: The study examines the direct use value of ecosystem services in the Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary (ILWS) through the dependency of local villagers on ILWS and its recreational value. The values of local villagers’ dependency on forest products were estimated using the market price valuation method. The results show that, in terms of monetary value, estimated tangible services (fishing, timber, fuel-wood, bamboo, water supply, non-timber forest products, and charcoal) are 4.68 million USD per year. Travel cost method was applied to calculate the recreation value of ILWS (i.e. the total consumer surplus of ILWS visitors). The estimated consumer surplus or per trip per visitor is 127 USD, and the total consumer surplus is 56.23 million USD per year. Besides, income, money spent during the trip (travel cost), gender and age were significantly related to the number of trips to ILWS. By combining the value of tangible services and intangible recreation, the estimated total direct use value of ILWS is 60.91 million USD per year. The results of this study can be useful in developing the lake’s management and conservation programs. 

Keywords: Ecosystem services, Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary (ILWS), direct use, valuation, travel cost. 

Awais Mahmood and Shabbir H. Gheewala*

Abstract: Being an agrarian country, Pakistan is facing an agricultural waste disposal problem which has led to environmental and health issues due to the open burning. Rice straw is one of the notable farm residues which is currently being unutilized in the country. On the other hand, the power sector of Pakistan is heavily reliant on thermal energy. Rice straw could be an attractive source of feedstock for power generation from an alternate perspective. However, on a preliminary basis, the environmental implications need to be studied in a life cycle perspective before the exploitation of straw-based power production. In this study, three different scenarios of rice straw management were analyzed with life cycle assessment, including; (1) open burning, (2) straw mulching, and (3) direct combustion for power production. The results revealed that the open burning of rice straw had significant impacts on the environment in terms of PM2.5, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication and human damage ozone formation potentials. On the other hand, for all the scearios, the production phase was found to be the major source of GHG emissions, contributing nearly 60-70% to the total GHGs. The direct combustion scenario presented the highest environmental sustainability followed by the straw mulching. The core benefits were obtained through refraining from the open burning of rice straw in the field and by the substitution of the grid electricity. 

Keywords: Rice straw, LCA, straw mulching, direct combustion, zero-tillage happy seeder.

Haseeb Akbar and Shabbir H. Gheewala*

Abstract: Climate change is one of the major threats to humanity in recent times. It has a significant potential to disturb the water cycle which additionally accelerates many problems i.e. water availability, agriculture yields, damage to the ecosystem, etc. That is why it is important to understand the climatic changes in the rural and agrarian-based basin. Therefore, the focus of this study was to detect the changes in the climatic indices and parameters in the Kunhar river basin, Pakistan. Box and whisker plots, RClimDex tool, Mann Kendall test, and Inverse distance weighted (IDW) were used to observe the basic statistics, variations in the climatic indices, trends of climatic parameters, and their significance and spatial distribution of the climatic parameters respectively, over the Kunhar River basin. For the baseline period (1979-2014), it was found that the maximum and minimum temperatures were increasing significantly. However, precipitation, wind speed, and relative humidity were decreasing significantly. Changes in the climatic parameters were more significant in the lower half of the basin than the upper. Changes in the seasonal flow were more significant than annual. Runoff was increasing at the rate of 0.415 m3s-1 per spring season and decreasing at the rate of 0.415 m3s-1 per summer season, which is a clear indication of peak shift in the backward direction. These changes affect the agriculture yields, water availability, and ecosystem of the basin. 

Keywords: Hydroclimate, RClimDex, Mann-Kendall, Kunhar.