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Air Pollution

“Close down the schools” – Chiang Mai University academic

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“Close down the schools” – Chiang Mai University academic | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Measuring the PM2.5 particles and pollution from public transport in Chiang Mai

With Chiang Mai making the list for worst air pollution in the world (Number 3), calls are growing for schools and educational institutes in the northern province to close down temporarily.

“The Chiang Mai University, in particular, should suspend its classes until the situation improves. Not only will this save students, but it will also raise public awareness of the severity of smog,” the Legal Research and Development Centre of CMU’s Faculty of Laws said in a statement yesterday.

AirVisual, an international platform for air-quality data, ranked Chiang Mai as the world’s third-most polluted city on Tuesday. Only New Dehli and Lahore were worse on that day. The sky in Chiang Mai has been a brownish hue for the past week.

Some readings around Chiang Mai today are up to 168 this morning.

CMU’s Legal Research and Development Centre says that in the face of such serious air pollution, government agencies should start handing out free protective masks to people. The centre added that relevant authorities in Chiang Mai should also urgently draw up tangible long-term solutions for smog – which has been affecting the province for over a decade now.

“If those in power do not take action or show any responsibility, they should be transferred,” the centre declared.

Meanwhile, PCD said the amount of small dust particles in the North was very high yesterday mainly due to forest fires. There have been more than 1,000 hotspots in the North this past week.

Though haze in the northern province of Phrae appeared to have eased yesterday, it was still at a worrying level with PM2.5 per cubic metre of air recorded at 68mcg and its AQI at 141, down from 130mcg and 240 respectively. The haze was so bad on Tuesday that one aircraft was not able to land at Phrae Airport.

Smog also enveloped the nearby province of Nan for three consecutive days, as locals rushed to burn agricultural fires before authorities imposed a ban in their area.

In nearby Lampang, the smog was so bad that authorities vowed tough action against those lighting outdoor fires.

SOURCE: The Nation



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Air Pollution

Specialist clinics for pollution-related symptoms to be set up around the country

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Specialist clinics for pollution-related symptoms to be set up around the country | The Thaiger
The Public Health Ministry says they are now preparing to set up specialised clinics to treat patients suffering from pollution-related symptoms in the northern parts of the country.

“At present, we have just one such clinic in the country. So, we have decided to introduce many more,” according to permanent secretary Dr Sukhum Karnchanapimai.

He made the pledge in response to the high levels of choking smog and smoke that has been haunting several provinces of Thailand in recent months.

“We plan to set up pollution clinics in the North and the Northeast before the end of this year,” Sukhum said.

Currently, the country’s only ‘pollution clinic’ is located at Nopparatrajathanee Hospital in Bangkok.

According to the permanent secretary, the Medical Services Department has already prepared a manual on how to set up pollution clinics for hospitals to use.

Certain groups of people face a graver threat than the general population from dust problems: those working outdoors, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, asthma patients, and those suffering respiratory disorders.

Disease Control Department deputy director-general Dr Kajohnsak Kaewjarus said about 22,000 people had sought medical help about symptoms that could be associated with smog and air pollution.

“The most common symptoms concern respiratory disorders, heart and coronary-artery disease, eye inflammation and inflamed skin.”

Health Department director-general Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn said people should try to protect themselves.

“Minimise exposure to dust. Keep your home clean. When going outdoors, wear a facemask. And if you develop health problems, go see a doctor,” she said.

Specialist clinics for pollution-related symptoms to be set up around the country | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north

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Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | The Thaiger

From Nan to Mae Hong Son, Phrae, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, choking smog continues to be a persistent problem and part of daily life in the North, where more than 400 brushfire hotspots have now been identified.

Most of the fires are in Mae Hong Son, on the far north-west border with Myanmar, which counted 100.

Bangkok Airways has already cancelled its morning flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son until at least next Sunday, extending the deadline from this weekend, saying there had been no improvement in visibility so the situation was too risky for flights.

Yesterday morning visibility at Mae Hong Son was just 1,600 metres, whereas Bangkok Airways requires 6,000 metres. At this stage other flights are continuing their schedule.

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | News by The Thaiger

Areas north of Chiang Mai this morning, registering well above safe levels for air quality

The Pollution Control Department reported the level of PM2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter – in Mae Hong Son more than twice the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

Authorities say that deliberately set brushfires and plantation burn-offs are the main cause of the air pollution. With Mae Hong Son topping the list, Chiang Mai had 83 hotspots on Sunday, Phayao 54, Tak 49, Nan 38, Chiang Rai 37, Lampang 31, Phrae 24 and Lamphum 20.

Authorities in several provinces have declared total bans on outdoor burning, but farmers often risk the threatened fines because they have no other viable way to clear their land.

Several outdoor activities have been cancelled in Nan, such as sports tournaments, as a result of the danger to health.

Week kicks off with more choking haze and cancelled flights in the north | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Thailand’s north continues to choke under record smoke levels

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Thailand’s north continues to choke under record smoke levels | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Burn-off of plantation land and forest fires continue to blanket the north in smoke – Thailand Discovery

For the fourth consecutive day Chiang Mai ranks as the world’s most air-polluted city, with an air quality index (AQI) score of 282 this morning on airvisual.com.

Mae Hong Son meanwhile continued to battle multiple forest fires, and Lampang saw it Thammasat University campus suspended classes and office work until March 18 due to the severe haze. Bangkok Airways has also suspended its daily flights into Mae Hong Son airport from Chiang Mai but will review the situation over the weekend.

Thailand's north continues to choke under record smoke levels | News by The Thaiger

The Pollution Control Department reports that all nine northern provinces this morning had unsafe levels of PM2.5 dust particulates.

The Thai safety limit for PM2.5 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre or an AQI of 100. This morning’s measurement of 282 is listed as ‘unhealthy’ by the internationally recognized website.

In Mae Hong Son, where satellite image reports had cited more than 100 hot spots for several consecutive days, the latest report found 104 hot spots in the province – with the largest number clustered in Pai district at 43 hot spots followed by Pang Mapha district at 33 hot spots, which is a slight drop from the previous day’s 119 hot spots.

The satellite image report as of 2.18am cited 561 hot spots in nine northern provinces – Mae Hong Son (104), Chiang Mai (137), Chiang Rai (36), Nan (43), Phayao (94), Phrae (33), Lampang (61), Lamphun (28) and Tak (25).

A Thai friend of The Thaiger sent this video to us today….

https://web.facebook.com/thethaigernews/videos/2462678387293208/

The haze has inundated the region with poor visibility. It has now ravaged Mae Hong Son, especially its Doi Kongmu area, for two weeks and caused officials to dispatch fire engines to spray water throughout the city.

State officials and volunteers continue daily to battle forest fires, most of which have reportedly stemmed from villagers lighting fires in the forests. About 60% of the forest fires have occurred in beyond-reach steep mountainous areas and so continue to bellow smoke and strengthen the haze.

In Lampang, the Thammasat University campus suspended classes and stopped office work for until March 18 as a precaution to ensure students and staff can protect their health.

The university also suspended the use of outdoor fields and its stadium, said the deputy rector for litigation and administration, Professor Pairoj Kampusiri. The university also urged students and staff to wear effective face masks during this period.

Thailand's north continues to choke under record smoke levels | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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