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Over 250,000 receive eye and nose medical treatment due to pollution in northern provinces




Smog in Chiang Mai / Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

Over 250,000 people are feeling the burn after receiving treatment for eye and nose problems due to pollution in Thailand’s northern provinces. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Health, says the medical issues are due to excessive PM2.5 dust particles in the atmosphere as a result of local wildfires that have produced heavy smog.

He says that the seasonal smog, that has blanketed areas such as Chiang Mai amongst others, has greatly affected people with respiratory diseases, 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 which has seen over a quarter of a million people undergoing medical treatment at hospitals and clinics since the beginning of this year. Most of those suffering from respiratory problems fall into the age group between 45-54 years old.

Suwanchai says that vulnerable people, who are prone to dust-related ailments, should avoid outdoor activities and wear proper medical, or N95 face masks. He says those who are suffering from breathing problems or chest pains should see a doctor as soon as possible.

In Chiang Mai alone, air pollution has also been allegedly responsible for over 30,000 people visiting the hospital to undergo 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 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.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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  1. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    Finally, a photo showing the true sourse, sugarcane.

  2. Avatar


    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Air pollution kills 8 million people every year.

    Stay home.
    Turn off the lights.
    Buy nothing.

  3. Avatar

    Investor ken

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    Why do the Thai people let this smoke and burn happen to their beautiful country?

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:36 am

    “Why do the Thai people let this smoke and burn happen to their beautiful country?”

    Because if you take the trouble to read the reports by the experts and to look at the aerial photographs repeatedly shown here, a considerable amount if not most of the “smoke and burn” isn’t from “their beautiful country” but from Myanmar and Laos.

    That’s not to say that there’s any excuse for the “wildfires” in Thailand, many of which are started deliberately, or for the smoke from the sugar cane factories which is seldom mentioned, but as yet no-one anywhere has come up with a solution to how to dispose of the post harvest waste other than by burning.

    Unless someone does, or Thailand gives up growing sugar cane and the farmers change to another crop, the “smoke and burn” will continue.

    The options are pretty simple.

  5. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 1:33 am

    That is the reason we will not be coming back. Pollution is getting worse every year.

  6. Avatar

    Fred glue

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 4:00 am

    IJ, how can you say it is a beautiful country, all day & everyday you just bag, bag, bag.
    You don’t like Thai people at all, everything that Thai people do you say that is not right. You piss me off with your back stabbing. Of Thai people……..

  7. Avatar

    Colin G

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Freddie, you must be sniffing too much of that Glue…

    I don’t agree with much of what IJ writes but what he does write is most definitely NOT anti-Thai. Quite the opposite, he appears most times to defend much that others consider needs to be improved in Thailand.

    I suggest you take another look at his posts.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Colin G, agree with me or not, but what else can Thailand do?

    Burning sugar cane pre-harvest is already limited by law as the factories were only allowed to buy 30% burnt last season (2019/20), 20% this season just ending (2020/21), 5% next (2021/22), then zero.

    No-one in the world has come up with any other way of disposing of the cut leaves post harvest other than burning.

    So, genuine question, what else can Thailand do?

  9. Avatar


    Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Bio char is a better way to burn. eliminates pollution.

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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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