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Air Pollution

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – all suffering choking smog today

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Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – all suffering choking smog today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok is the world's 5th worst city for air pollution today - Thai PBS World
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The whole Bangkok and its suburbs is suffering from excessive PM2.5 dust and smoke particles in the air today. Around the city the readings have been uniformly ‘unhealthy’ for the entire day with readings as high as 188 particles of 2.5microns per cubic metre.

Putting a stamp on the whole appalling situation is the list of the world’s Top 10 cities with the worst air pollution. Bangkok had the 5th worst air pollution in the world today with perennially polluted Indian cities Delhi and Mumbai not much further ahead in the readings today.Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The ThaigerDespite being a long-standing problem, Bangkok’s air pollution has only recently begun to enter the Thai public consciousness. This awareness has been sparked by some prolonged hazy spells that tested the public’s patience and pushed schools, organisations and individuals to start testing the air themselves. By January 2019, there were already more than 100 schools using air sensors. The growth in these non-governmental air monitoring stations gave more and more parents and Bangkok citizens real-time pollution data for the first time, revealing how poor the city’s air quality was.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The Thaiger

62 air quality measurement stations in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, including Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, show the health threatening levels of PM2.5, which exceed the 50 micron safety threshold. The highest level was found at Tambon Paknam in Muang district of Samut Prakan (a reading of 188).

In the eastern province of Rayong, the Pollution Control Department reports that air quality readings show the level of PM2.5 up to 174 today with nearby tourist town Pattaya sharing readings, all in the ‘unhealthy’ zone.

Further north Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang all shared very bad air quality readings today as the smoke from plantation burn-offs continued to fester in local lungs and choking the blue skies with an ugly grey pall. Chiang Mai is also on the list of the Top 10 world’s worst air pollution today coming in at #8.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai - all suffering choking smog today | News by The Thaiger

Statistics from Air Visual

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Air Pollution

North still choked with dangerous smog

Greeley Pulitzer

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North still choked with dangerous smog | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Tasty Thailand

Chiang Mai takes the number one spot for air pollution yet again today, as a thick shroud of smog blankets huge areas of the province. Thailand’s Pollution Control Department reported today that dangerously thick smog covered the upper northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. A red alert signifying severe air pollution was posted for the three northern provinces.

Levels of PM2.5 (smoke and dust particles 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter) ranged from 32-241 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in the North over the past 24 hours. The governmnent-set “safe” level is at 50mcg, double the international standard.

PM2.5 was measured at 108mcg in Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.

North still choked with dangerous smog | News by The Thaiger

In Chiang Mai, PM2.5 rose to 101mcg in tambon Chiang Phuak of Muang district, 100 in tambon Sri Phum, and 241 in tambon Muang Khong of Chiang Dao district.

In Mae Hong Son, the PM2.5 level reached 121 in tambon Chong Kham of Muang district.

Lower, but still unsafe levels of dust were reported in Mae Chaem and Muang districts of Chiang Mai; Mae Mo and Muang districts of Lampang, Muang district of Lamphun, Muang district of Phayao, Chalerm Phrakiat district of Nan and Mae Sot district of Tak.

North still choked with dangerous smog | News by The Thaiger

IMAGE: airvisual.com

Air quality was deemed “good” in the city district of Uthai Thani, at 32mcg, Wichian Buri district of Phetchabun with 36 and the city district of Nakhon Sawan at 37.

According to the Pollution Control Department, PM2.5 levels ranged from 44-48mcg in Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phitsanulok and Uttaradit provinces.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai firefighters chased up a tree by wild elephants

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chiang Mai firefighters chased up a tree by wild elephants | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

Firefighters in Thailand’s North were chased up a tree by a herd of elephants yesterday. The group were on patrol searching for fires in Chiang Mai province’s Omkoi district.

The men told reporters they were patrolling for fires when they ran across a small herd of wild elephants. Fearing for their safety, the fled up a nearby tree and stayed there until the elephants went their way.

Located in the south of Chiang Mai Province, Omkoi is the home of the Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary, which has a number of rare and endangered species including wild Asian elephants. But stumbling across wild elephants in the park is uncommon as it has a small population.

The firefighters were in the area as part of efforts to fight and spot forest fires burning across the province. Many villagers start fires to improve annual mushroom harvests and prepare land for planting new crops.

In another story, two men have been arrested in relation to fires that have caused widespread damage in Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. The two are alleged to have started a fire in a forest area in Ban Thung Pong Tai, in Hang Dong District.

The men admitted to starting the fire but claimed “that they were only trying to create a fire protection line”, fighting fire with fire and providing protection from other fires in the park, but their fire got out of control. They face criminal charges.

In Chiang Mai’s Mae Chaem district, a major source of corn crops, the district chief ordered an investigation after reports of a fire in the Pa Baan Tuan area. Officials arrived to find a man standing in the area with a lighter in his hand (doh!).

The man was taken into custody, and told authorities he was taking a shortcut home when he saw a pile of leaves and branches. He says he decided to get rid of them by lighting a fire which got out of hand.

The was taken into custody where he will have time to reflect on much better excuses in the future.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Lockdowns, closures mean cleaner air in European cities

Greeley Pulitzer

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Lockdowns, closures mean cleaner air in European cities | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DevelopmentAid

Lockdowns, travel restrictions and factory closures due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic are having some unexpected positive consequences. Satellite images show that cities around Europe, including Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Milan and Frankfurt, are showing a huge reduction in air pollution average levels of noxious nitrogen dioxide over compared with the same period last year.

New images, including heat maps, released by the European Space Agency and analysed by the nonprofit European Public Health Alliance, show the changing density of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause respiratory problems and cancer. (Weather events can influence air pollution, so the satellite pictures took a 20 day average and excluded readings where cloud cover reduced the quality of the data.)

In Madrid, average nitrogen dioxide levels decreased by 56% week-on-week after the Spanish government banned nonessential travel on March 14.

In abandoned Venice, dolphins were supposedly spotted in spotted in the city’s legendary canals, though this turned out to be “fake news.” The canal water, nonetheless, is clearer because of the huge decrease in boat traffic.

The EPHA says people living in polluted cities may be more at risk from the virus because prolonged exposure to bad air can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight infection.

“That connection is very likely, but because the disease is new, it still has to be demonstrated.”

China also recorded a drop in air pollution in its major cities during February, when the government imposed draconian lockdown measures to contain the epidemic.

But in some regions of Poland, pollution levels remained high during the period despite its lockdown, possibly due to the prevalence of coal based heating. EEA data show that air pollution causes around 400,000 premature deaths each year in Europe.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World |Reuters

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