Connect with us

Air Pollution

Thailand’s north continues to choke under record smoke levels

The Thaiger

Published

on

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



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Mai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Air Pollution

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

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Air Pollution

Plastic waste fire smothers village in acrid smoke

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Air Pollution

Northern haze to go onto ‘national agenda’

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Northern haze to go onto ‘national agenda’ | The Thaiger

by Chularat Saengpassa – PHOTOS: The Nation

Flights cancelled, schools closed, locals visiting hospitals in record numbers and the visual proof is overwhelming. Some of Thailand’s most beautiful areas and popular locations are shrouded in a dense smog and an equally hazy list of solutions.

Calls for the government to tackle the problem of serious air pollution as a vital part of the national agenda are getting louder.

The North has been struggling with severe air pollution for several months now, as outdoor fires are increasing the amount of airborne dust particles.

“Smog is a threat to people’s health,” said Sonthi Kotchawat, an independent environmental health expert.

He added that the region has been struggling with this dust problem for a long time now, but relevant parties have simply waited for nature – such as wind and rain – to blow away the dangerous dust particles.

“We can’t let northerners struggle with smog every year because their health is in grave danger,” Sonthi said, demanding that the authorities issue clear action plans to address the problem.

He also emphasised that the government actively participate in dealing with the problem instead of leaving the job to local authorities.

“Don’t rely on provincial authorities to address this problem. The government needs to take action because the smog has worsened over time,” Sonthi said.

Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger

Records show that there were 6,080 hotspots in Myanmar and 3,030 in Laos on Wednesday. Both countries border Thailand in the North. Although the ASEAN Transboundary Haze-Fee Roadmap is in place, fires from Thailand’s neighbours have continued polluting the air.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai has been topping the global list of the world’s most polluted city for a few hours every day since Tuesday.

The Pollution Control Department wrote to Myanmar authorities this week asking for help with the smog, but there has been no satisfactory result so far.

In Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, which is next to Myanmar, the PM2.5 level hovered around 208mcg per cubic metre of air as of noon yesterday and its AQI stood at a shocking 318 – a threat even to healthy people.

Thai representatives in the Thailand-Myanmar Township Border Committee will soon be sent to Myanmar to discuss the problem.

Meanwhile, the Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon attended a meeting on the pollution in Chiang Mai yesterday.

“We will use this as an opportunity to raise public awareness about PM2.5 and will take tough action against those who violate the ban on outdoor fires,” he said after emerging from the meeting.

Northern haze to go onto 'national agenda' | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: A longer version of the story at The Nation

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required

Trending