Over 1.2 rai of forest reserve in Chiang Mai has been cleared to make way for an illegal landfill, the police said on Wednesday.
Pol Col Sanuwong Kongka-in, chief of subdivision 4 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, said the police discovered the illegal landfill after getting reports of possible illegal burning at a protected area in Wiang Haeng district.
The police launched a drone and saw patches of the reserve had been cleared and were being used as a landfill, he said.
Using GPS-enabled patrol vehicles and thermal imaging cameras, police can quickly respond to reports of land encroachment and forest fires.
With further tools, such as satellite imaging from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda), authorities can remotely detect hotspots and deliver the information in a prompt manner, he said, adding quick action can help solve the air pollution crisis which plagues the country each summer.
The suspects will be charged with violating the National Reserved Forest Act.