Thailand primes for haze mitigation ahead of Songkran festival

Picture courtesy of Thairath

Responding to the escalating haze crisis, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has directed all provinces in the upper north, including Chiang Mai, to prepare their operation centres. This step aims to mitigate air pollution during the forthcoming Songkran festival, which traditionally sees a surge in tourist arrivals.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Phatcharavat Wongsuwan, these centres, each under the leadership of the respective provincial governor, are slated to be fully functional by today, April 10. In addition to managing hazardous dust pollution, the governors are also responsible for keeping the public and media updated on local circumstances.

Refuting allegations of delayed action, Phatcharavat emphasised that all relevant authorities have been diligently working to decrease the ultrafine dust particles for months.

“The creation of these centres is merely an extension of this ongoing effort.”

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The deputy prime minister further instructed pertinent state agencies to collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The goal is to initiate discussions with neighbouring countries suspected of contributing to the transboundary haze pollution in Thailand.

Phatcharavat noted that the army is also lending a hand in this endeavour by facilitating conversations through the joint border committees. These coordinated efforts aim to alleviate the adverse effects of air pollution in the north, with a particular focus on preserving the region’s tourism sector during the Songkran festival.

The Chiang Mai operation centre today is set to receive the hardware and equipment necessary to combat the pollution. In the wake of escalating PM2.5 dust levels, Chiang Mai authorities encouraged residents to work remotely until Friday, reported Bangkok Post.

The city’s pollution levels peaked yesterday, earning Chiang Mai the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city globally. The northern region of Thailand continues to grapple with dense smog.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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