Vientiane Officially Bans Burning of Garbage

Burning garbage now illegal in Vientiane

A notice issued by the Mayor of Vientiane Capital has officially banned the burning of garbage in a move to reduce environmental damage.

The notice, dated 16 December, is addressed to the head of the Vientiane Capital Department of Natural Resources and Environment and outlines the types of household burning and other types of open burning that are officially prohibited citywide.

Citizens are now prohibited from burning garbage, dry rice fields, and trees or brush in all urban areas of Vientiane Capital.

According to the notice, a hotline will be created for citizens to report the burning of garbage or brush in urban areas, while volunteer units will be installed at the village and district levels to deal with forest fires or large garbage fires.

Measures against offenders, such as fines, have not been fully decided upon, however, according to the notice it is to be in relation to the size of the offense, with larger volumes of garbage attracting larger fines.

The response comes as Vientiane recalls last year’s extreme air pollution, during which a haze of smog covered much of the capital. The cause of the smog, which gripped several cities in Southeast Asia, was attributed to dust and large-scale open burning.

Many concerned citizens had been calling for stricter measures on open burning and garbage fires, which until now had been dealt with only at the village level, and on a case-by-case basis. While some village chiefs have been proactive, many had been awaiting clear instructions from the mayor’s office.

Fires continue to plague the capital, which topped a list of provinces with the most fires, with 68 fire incidences reported this year, costing the economy LAK 11,604,000,000 kip (USD 1.3 million) in damages.