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Brush fires rage on in Chiang Mai while air pollution soars

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Brush fires are raging on in Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai Province as air pollution soars. Firefighters say they are struggling to put out the fires which line the Suthep-Pui National Park. A KA-32 helicopter has been brought in to help contain the fires after they spread fastly through the bamboo forest. The helicopters have already put out about half of the fires with authorities saying the fires should be put out soon, thanks to the more than 200 people who have volunteered to help. A man has been detained in connection to the fires, but he has denied all allegations.

Meanwhile, air pollution is soaring in northern Thailand with Chiang Mai ranking again yesterday in the top 3 most polluted cities in the world according to IQ AirVisual. Just a few days ago, Chiang Mai was ranked first in the world for air pollution as Suwanchai Wattanaying Charoenchai, the director-general of the Department of Health, saying over 250,000 people have sought treatment for eye and nose issues due to the heavy smog blanketing Thailand’s northern provinces. Suwanchai says the excessive PM2.5 dust particles are causing an increase in those seeking medical treatment.

People with respiratory diseases are seeing an increase in symptoms, with young children and the elderly being the most vulnerable. Such ailments like asthma, eye infections and coronary artery disease have been attributed to the increase in pollution.

The cause of the pollution is mainly due to wildfires sprouting up as a result of open burning across the border in Myanmar forests and locally around northern farms in Thailand. The government has warned farmers to not burn the past year’s crops, but the issue still remains.

AQI readings by the Pollution Control Department also reveal that 5 northern provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Lamphun recorded unhealthy to hazardous levels of air quality.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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