Chiang Mai: Third worst air-pollution in the world

Chiang Mai scored an unwanted podium position yesterday when it was ranked third on the global list of cities with the worst air pollution.

Chiang Mai’s AQI (Air Quality Index) score stood at 194 a level considered “unhealthy” yesterday. Any figure beyond 200 is ‘very unhealthy’. On Saturday, Khon Kaen reached 210 on the AQI scale.

Chiang Mai’s severe air pollution, smoke and smog was just behind the Indian capital of New Delhi (AQI 215) and Pakistan’s Lahore (AQI 197).

In Thailand, Chiang Mai is the largest city up north, but the entire northern and north-eastern regions have been suffering poor air quality for two weeks, including Lampang, Phrae, Lamphun and Nan.

Professor Dr Khuanchai Supparatpinyo, who heads the Chiang Mai University’s Research Institute for Health Sciences, says that the smog had hurt people’s health, the environment, tourism and the economy.

“People of all ages are adversely affected,” he said.

According to him, outdoor fires are among the major causes of air pollution. Researchers from his institute have developed small sensors to detect the amount of dust particles in real time so as to issue timely advisories and warnings.

“We believe public awareness will nudge people to stop outdoor fires and monitor behaviour in their communities,” Khuanchai said.

His centre’s initiative has been extended to some educational institutes in nearby provinces too, so students and teachers there know how to protect themselves against polluted air.

Meanwhile, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha told the Cabinet yesterday that efforts to fight smog must become a part of the national agenda.

Deputy Government Spokesman Lt-General Werachon Sukondhapatipak says, “The prime minister has instructed all relevant authorities to provide guidelines to engage all sectors in finding a sustainable solution to the prevention of smog,”

SOURCE: The Nation

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