Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is flying to Chiang Mai tomorrow (Tuesday) to meet with with the northern provincial governors.
Most of the northern provinces, including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, are likely to face health-threatening haze problems from PM2.5 dust particles until at least early May according to meteorologists. The poor air quality has been a constant part of daily life for locals for over two months now.
Very hot weather, with 0% chance of rain and light winds (for this week) is contributing to the region’s woes.
The chief of the Climate Change Centre at Chiang Mai University, Associate Professor Seth Sampattakul, says the north will have to wait for the forest fires to be extinguished or the arrival of the rainy season.
The level of PM2.5 micron particles in most parts of Chiang Mai remains above the world’s safety levels of 50 microns on a continuous basis, especially in Samoeng district where the level of PM2.5 dust particles was recently measured at over 500 microns, 10 times the safe level, posing serious health threats.
Seth says although authorities have tried to fight forest fires and control the burning of vegetation, the
haze problem persists and has been worsening, ahead of the Songkran holiday, as farmers step up burning of farm waste to prepare their land for the next cultivation.
Earlier, Chiang Mai Governor Supachai Iamsuwan admitted that he could not declare the province a
disaster zone due to technical problems. He explained that, by declaring a disaster zone, the provincial
administration would have to utilise emergency budget, but it is unable to do this because of Finance
He said all he can do is to instruct local administrators to make use of their own budgets to deal with the
The Chiang Mai governor has come under heavy criticism for his failure to tackle one of the world’s worst smoke haze problems after the level of PM2.5 dust particles in the province broke world records several times in recent weeks.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires
Mae Hong Son province continues to be plagued by forest fires despite the ban and the raging haze and smoke problems.
In recent months, Mae Hong Son has been struggling with haze most of the time with flights to its airport limited at the height of the crisis. Exposure to the serious air pollution has become a threat to the health of locals. Authorities continue to blame outdoor fires as the key cause of smog.
However, illegal outdoor fires continue to be detected.
Satellite images confirmed that there were at least 23 hotspots in Mae Hong Son yesterday. Of them, 13 were in Sop Moei district.
Kampanart Prachongpim, who heads Mae Hong Son’s forest-fire control division, says that teams from several provinces had come to Mae Hong Son to help extinguish forest fires that were often caused by people. At least, two bushfires extinguished yesterday were caused by people going into the forest to collect forest produce. According to him, by the time these forest fires were put out, about nine rai of forest reserves had been destroyed.
Mae Hong Son is 100 kilometres north west of Chiang Mai, near the Myanmar border.
SOURCE: The Nation
Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai
PHOTO: Sunshine International Retirement Residence & Serviced Apartment, Hua Hin
Sunshine International, Thailand’s leading brand of retirement residences says that their project which was due to be constructed near Chiang Mai’s city centre has now been cancelled.
Sunshine International, a retirement property that included around the clock medical facilities, on site doctors and nurses, and state of the art facilities, was due to be built on a five rai site in central Chiang Mai.
But ThaiVisa reports that the company says, due to the problems the city is experiencing with poor air quality, smog and pollution, it has been forced to cancel the Sunshine International Retirement Residences project.
Andrew Stocks of Sunshine International said they had an increase in people contacting them saying they have been forced to leave Chiang Mai because of the smog.
He said that due to the negative impact the project is currently not viable.
Andrew said his company will now focus on its other retirement projects located in Hua Hin, as well as a soon to be announced project in Phuket. He said Sunshine International would consider returning to Chiang Mai again if the smog situation improved.
Andrew called on the authorities to step in to help protect the livelihoods of local people who rely on income generated by the tourism industry in the region.
New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army
The fire started on Sunday night in the Doi Jorakhe area of Tambon Tha Sud in Muang before spreading to Tambon Pa Teung in Mae Chan, a densely populated area and home to Mae Chan Hospital and temples.
As of this morning the fire had already devastated 1,000 rai of forestland and nearby plantations.
Mae Chan disrict chief Wandee Ratchomphu led the efforts by 800 state officials and volunteers to put out the fire and prevent it from reaching communities or more forestland in Mae Fah Luang district. A special coordination centre was set up at Wat Pateung to dispatch firefighters to the affected areas by first light, attempts to put out the flames in the heavily wooded mountainous area during the night considered dangerous.
Third Army Region deputy commander Major Buncha Duriyapan was also on the scene to help supervise soldiers joining the fire-fighting efforts. The Army brought in a helicopter to provide support to the Protected Area Regional Office 15’s chopper being used to carry water from the three-metre-deep Tham Sua reservior to douse the flames in hard-to-reach spots.
Buncha also ordered related agencies, especially the police and army, to investigate and identify the person(s) who started this massive fire, saying this was “a strange and unprecedented situation when wildfires erupted all over the province’s mountainous areas simultaneously”.
He said he was convinced that this was a case of arson and not a freak natural incident like a lightening strike.
The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system, as of yesterday morning, identified 521 hot spots in the North. Chiang Rai led the pack with 291 hotspots, followed by Nan (57), Lampang (46), Phayao (46), Chiang Mai (44), Tak (15), Mae Hong Son (14), Phrae (6) and Lamphun (2).
SOURCE: The Nation
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