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Air Pollution

Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again | The Thaiger

by Kriangkrai Rattana, Panwich Yoodee, Nathawat Laping 

Northern provinces are again choking from dangerous levels of PM2.5 dust particles, air pollution and smog.

The harmful haze is being worsened by smoke from forest fires on the other side of the Myanmar border, with a satellite images showing 1,035 hot spots in the neighbouring country, and another 516 in Thailand (123 of which were in the North, with only two in Chiang Rai).

Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again | News by The Thaiger

Readings around Chiang Rai at noon

With border district Mae Sai topping the North’s PM2.5 peak for two consecutive days, residents were told to avoid outdoor activities.

Chiang Rai Governor Prajon Prachsakul is urging local officials to implement problem-solving measures and to coordinate with the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee in an effort to get Myanmar to strictly implement measures against outdoor burning and forest fires.

According to the Thai Pollution Control Department, PM2.5 particulates in the nine northern provinces ranged from 29mcg to 117mcg as of 9am yesterday.

Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai city reading noon today

Chiang Mai, meanwhile, was once again enveloped in haze after a period of better air since March 5.

The areas with beyond-safe PM2.5 levels included the tambons of Jong Kham (81mcg) in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district; Nai Wiang (81mcg) in Nan’s Muang district and Huai Kon (77mcg) in Chalerm Phra Kiat district; and Chang Pheuk (70mcg) and Sri Phum (58mcg) in Chiang Mai’s Muang district. Beyond-safe levels were also experienced in tambons Phra Baht (64 mcg) in Muang district |and Ban Dong (75mcg) in Mae Mo district of Lampang; Wiang (56mcg) in Chiang Rai’s Muang |district; Na Chak (66mcg) in Phrae’s Muang district; and Ban Tom (67mcg) in Phayao’s Muang district.

Phayao – in the midst of combating multiple outbreaks of forest fire – reported that officials had put out a fire that damaged 100 rai (16 hectares) in tambon Dongjen of Phukamyao district, which stemmed from villagers lighting fires while poaching for forest products.

Two Bangkok Airways flights from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son – PG251 at 9.20am and PG352 at 10.35am – were cancelled yesterday due to visibility problems.

Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again | News by The Thaiger Northern provinces choking on toxic haze and air pollution again | 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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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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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Air Pollution

Plastic waste fire smothers village in acrid smoke

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Plastic waste fire smothers village in acrid smoke | The Thaiger

by Prasit Tangprasert

Firefighters are struggling to control a major fire at a plastic waste-separating factory in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Noen Sung district which began on Wednesday afternoon and is still not completely completely extinguished. Nakhon Ratchasima is the gateway to the north-east, heading out of Bangkok.

Villagers in Ban Don Ree and Ban Som say they are worried about the health impact from the acrid smoke. Some residents have already moved to stay elsewhere.

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officials are investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire broke out at around 3pm on Wednesday at the abandoned plastic waste factory in Ban Don Ree in Tambon Don Chomphu where hundreds of tonnes of plastic waste were ignited.

Over 10 fire engines responded to the factory, which was abandoned nearly a decade ago as the previous owner reportedly faced a bankruptcy lawsuit and the property was passed onto a bank.

Plastic waste fire smothers village in acrid smoke | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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