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Chiang Mai’s air pollution sends over 30,000 to hospital, ranked worst in world today



Air pollution in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is allegedly responsible for over 30,000 people visiting the hospital seeking treatment for respiratory illnesses. The city, known for its burning season, that blankets the air with smoke, has recently taken the top spot of having the worst air quality in the world. The IQ AirVisual air monitoring website listed Chiang Mai this morning as having the worst pollution, as it tracks air quality in real time.

The city’s air quality has consistently been ranked in the top 3 of the world’s worst cities in terms of pollution since the start of this month, an annual listing at this time of the year. IQ AirVisual even says it has taken the top spot for recent days. The Thailand Meteorological Department has also said that the poor air quality will last for another week due to the southern west wind current being too light to knock out the dust particles that are trapped by cool weather in the evenings. Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Phayao provinces are being affected the most due to the smog. Chiang Mai city area has a particular problem being in a valley which can trap the bad air.

Chaing Mai health officials say over 31,000 people have sought medical treatment for respiratory issues, such as cardiovascular disease as well as other eye and skin inflammatory diseases due to the smog.

The northern region has 926 hotspots, with Mae Hong Son having the most at 442, followed by Chiang Mai and Tak. 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. A taskforce has been deployed to 5 districts in Chiang Mai to deal with the haze until tomorrow, with rangers also setting out to extinguish wildfires in Lampang province on Phrabat Mountain.

Currently, Chiang Mai has an air quality index of 193, being considered in the unhealthy zone, with a PM2.5 concentration of 137.4 µg/m³. USAQI is an Air Quality Index used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

Chiang Mai's air pollution sends over 30,000 to hospital, ranked worst in world today | News by Thaiger

The fire map, in real time, which shows the many fires ablaze across the border in Myanmar.


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  1. B.T.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Another failure of clueless government,grabbing money made them to busy plus incompetence.They can’t even enforce the law.

  2. Fred glue

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Defend this one IJ, why do people go there it’s beyond me….

  3. Gosport

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:08 am


  4. Amy Sukwan

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Interesting. I remember last summer during California’s wildfires large particulate matter logged in at 207 in Las Vegas. The sun was a haze of orange for days. It received almost no attention in the US mainstream press. There are multiple measures of air quality but in general fires plus total lack of rain is bad…

  5. Geoff

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    31,000!? In any normal country that would be a disaster and something would be done about it. But here….

  6. Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Can they not restrict lighting fire to the times when the weather is windy, or is it never windy when they want to light the fires?
    Well, the farmers make money. The tourist hotels do not.

  7. Stardust

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    All junta govern countries in the world and history were failed states. All ended up in destroying their country and people. And all had the same symptoms what leads to the collapse like corruption, incompetance, mismanagement, all kind of crimes and violence, no human rights,human trafficking and forced slavery, killing of innocent people, no functional justice system, pollution and destroying of the natural resources. They have always the same patterns. And same gangster junta we can see now in Myanmar. They are criminals who should be brought into jail

  8. Issan John

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    “Defend this one IJ, why do people go there it’s beyond me….”

    Too much glue again, Fred, as I’ve no idea why you imagine I’d “defend” it.

  9. Craig

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Bad forest fires in California/the West last year. Here, it’s every ~Feb on and smokey. When I first traveled here (it was March), I had no clue there were mountains nearby. 555. Welcome to the burning season. It’s cheaper to burn and people can afford it.

  10. Sarwardee Ken

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Get Prayut to spray these fires instead of the journalists

  11. James R

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    As I said before I know many people who live in Chiang Mai and have left already as they normally do each year and go to Hua Hin.

    But not for a week as this article suggests, they know it goes on for at least three months each year.


    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    issan rubber johnnie… i think its because you defend everything that’s Thai!!

  13. Sierra

    Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Thailand’s air is a joke now. A toxic mess for five months a year. Unlivable. Thai people sacrifice their health and wellbeing for a few fat cats benefiting from agricultural burning. What a disgrace

  14. dispensed

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 6:23 am

    If 30,000 people went to the hospital for covid illness in one day, it would be sensationalized as an unprecedented public health disaster. Fake journos would be stamping their feet demanding that we all wear double masks and suh-suh-suh-suh-TAHY HOME!

    Since it’s just air pollution, we get a collective shrug.

  15. vic

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Another piece of shitty journalism based on bad copy/paste.
    31.000 cases in how many days?
    In a short period this would have collapsed the entire system in Thailand. If this happened for a flu (covid?) the country would have banned any activity forever.
    This is the worse and more confused online magazine on the market, that worth to be visite only to acknowledge what’s the lowest point of journalism…

  16. Issan John

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    ” i think its because you defend everything that’s Thai!!”

    You clearly don’t “think” very much, Mark G.

    If it’s justifiable and I agree, I “defend” it, if it’s not I don’t.

    Sorry if that’s beyond you.

  17. James R

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 2:03 am

    Issan John

    It does appear on many occasions you praise Thailand unconditionally and rubbish anything relating to your own country of origin, the UK.

  18. Steve

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Why do they not light the fires at night when people are asleep, that way peole do not have to walk around during the daytime breathing in poluted air. Problem solved!

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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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