Chiang Mai had no problem on Monday maintaining its World No 1 ranking as the most polluted city on the planet, scoring a 241 in air quality index (AQI) at airvisual.com.
Struggling to keep up were Delhi, India (AQI 231) and Lahore, Pakistan (221).
The Pollution Control Department (PCD) cited unsafe levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – in nine northern provinces, ranging from 55-169 micrograms per cubic metre of air.
The safe limit in Thailand is 50mcg, double the dose recommended by the World Health Organisation, and the safe level for AQI is 100.
At 10am on Monday, airvisual.com gauged Chiang Mai at 191mcg of PM2.5, topping its World AQI Rankings, to match a 241 AQI.
The PCD, measuring 24-hour averages of PM2.5, put the tambon of Wiang Phang Kham in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district at 169mcg.
Also wheezing in haze were Wiang in Muang Chiang Rai (94mcg), Chang Pheuk (100), Suthep (59) and Sri Phum (92) in Muang Chiang Mai and Chang Kherng (55) in Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai.
In Lampang, the tambon of Phra Baht in Muang district was at 87mcg, and Sop Pad (61), Ban Dong (114) and Mae Mo (81) in Mae Mo district.
Ban Klang in Muang Lamphun was at 80mcg, Jong Kham in Muang Mae Hong Son at 96, Nai Wiang in Muang Nan at 84, Na Chak in Muang Phrae 62, Ban Tom in Muang Phayao 82 and Mae Pa in Tak’s Mae Sot district at 76.
Dr Asadang Ruayajin, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, urged at-risk people in haze-affected areas – small children, elderly, pregnant and chronically ill – to wear facemasks while outdoors.
No one should be setting fires of any kind, he stressed.
And every measure should be taken to guard against falling ill due to the haze – keep windows and doors closed and clean homes of accumulated dust.
Asadang said his department was involved in efforts by Chiang Mai’s Disease Control Office 1 to get multiple agencies working on the problem.
It had dispatched Surveillance and Rapid Response Teams to help citizens in smoggy areas and was supplying facemasks for local authorities to distribute among at-risk groups and people who work outdoors, like traffic police and motorcycle-taxi drivers.