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Air Pollution

Northern smoke haze easing slowly

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Northern smoke haze easing slowly | The Thaiger

Either by hard work, serendipity or pure luck, the smog and haze in the North has eased considerably within the seven-day timeframe set last Tuesday by the Thai PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The PM flew into the smoke-stricken Chiang Mai last Tuesday to meet with northern provincial governors to work out active solutions. During the visit, the premier made clear that he expected clear results within seven days and promised to take action against officials who failed to meet the target.

Prayut also directed relevant authorities, as part of short-term measures, to focus on reducing the number of hotspots, as they were the main polluters. His intervention has led to intensive efforts to combat forest and plantation fires.

The Third Army Area organised more than 100 helicopter flights to help extinguish wildfires during the week. Meanwhile the GeoInformatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire-monitoring system reported that the number of hotspots in nine northern provinces had dropped to 231 yesterday – a significant drop from nearly 2,000 on April 2.

Northern smoke haze easing slowly | News by The Thaiger Northern smoke haze easing slowly | News by The Thaiger

While the intensified efforts have apparently improved air quality in the smog-hit North over the last week, the progress is bittersweet.

Siriwat Srisapha, a senior official based in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, revealed yesterday forest-fire responder Wichien Panures had a stroke while helping fight a blaze in the northern province of Lampang.

“While there, he suffered serious stomach ache and headache. Though he was rushed to hospital, he suffered a stroke on the spot and needed to be transferred to a better equipped hospital.”

According to doctors, Wichien is currently in a coma, and his body is showing no signs of response. Doctors believe there is little chance of recovery.

Many locals are complaining of respiratory and related problems with doctors and hospitals reporting a huge influx of patients related to the smog problems. This morning’s Chiang Mai readings from AirVisual.com below.

Northern smoke haze easing slowly | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation



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Air Pollution

Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai

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Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

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.

SOURCE: ThaiVisa.com

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Air Pollution

New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army

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New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army | The Thaiger
by Nathawat Laping 

Some 1,000 combined professional and volunteer firefighters are battling a major forest fire in the mountainous area overlapping Chiang Mai’s Muang and Mae Chan districts.

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).

New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Thailand still in the world’s Top 14 for TB cases

The Thaiger

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Thailand still in the world’s Top 14 for TB cases | The Thaiger

Thailand is struggling with tuberculosis, and remains in the list of the world’s 14 worst hit countries.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

Presently, one-quarter of the world’s population is thought to be infected with TB, with more than 95% of the cases occurring in developing countries.

Arth Nana, executive committee chairman of the Anti-TB Association, says Thailand needs to do away with TB before 2021. In 2017 the Disease Control Department put in place a five year goal to rid Thailand of the TB plague. The World Health Organsation has set its own goal to reduce the number of TB patients to fewer than 10 in 100,000 by 2035.

“We are one of the 14 worst countries hit by this severely infectious disease which has spread across 200 countries, said Arth.

But with three years to go, so far Thailand has made little inroads into tackling the spread and growth of the TB problem. In Bangkok new cases of the disease are on the rise, much of this due to the influx of migrant workers.

The high number of drug-resistant cases was among the factors that put Thailand in the pool of 14 worst-hit countries for TB ranked by the World Health Organisation.

According to the Bangkok Post, Dr Wongwat Lewlak, deputy chief of City Hall’s Health Department, blames our “hectic and stressful lifestyles in the crowded city” for making people neglect their health.

“The need to earn a living means many patients are too busy to remember those appointments with doctors or they decide to stop taking the drugs as soon as they start to feel better.”

Thailand still in the world's Top 14 for TB cases | News by The Thaiger

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