Thailand’s north continues to choke under record smoke levels

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.

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.

SOURCE: The Nation

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