IN THE face of persistent air pollution in the North, Chiang Mai University (CMU) has decided to issue warnings for locals to think twice before using the outdoor zone of its stadium.
If PM2.5 dust particles exceeds 35.5 micrograms per cubic metre of air within 24 hours, CMU will put up a sign warning children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with respiratory, heart and brain arteries problems, and athletes to avoid going outdoors.
If PM2.5 goes beyond 55.5mcg per cubic metre of air, the warning will cover everyone.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described PM2.5, or dust particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter, as carcinogenic. Prolonged exposure can cause several health problems and in severe cases, even death.
According to Thailand’s Pollution Control Department (PCD), air is unsafe when PM2.5 level exceeds 50mcg per cubic metre. Several provinces have been struggling with PM2.5 particles in the air for several months.
Chiang Mai is among the hardest hit provinces, and CMU has announced that it will close its stadium’s outdoor zone if the PM2.5 level goes beyond 150mcg per cubic metre of air.
PCD said yesterday that the PM2.5 level in Chiang Mai is slightly beyond the safe limit. Readings in Muang Chiang Mai’s tambons of Chang Pheuk and Sri Phum stood at 58mcg and 53mcg respectively, while the reading at tambon Chang Kerng in Mae Chaem district was 53.
Meanwhile, PM2.5 levels in Tak’s Mae Pa tambon stood at 52mcg; Muang Phayao’s Wiang was 62; Muang Lampang’s Phra Baht was 52 and Muang Lamphun’s Ban Klang at 64.
As forest fires are worsening the haze across the North and Northeast, shovel-wielding troops and a pair of MI17 helicopters are battling the blazes in Lamphun and Chiang Mai. They had previously helped douse similar fires in Lampang province.
The Third Army Region’s special front command for haze control, operating in nine provinces in the North, is among the slew of agencies working on the problem.
Third Army Region deputy commander Maj-General Bancha Suriyapan used the Line application to deploy troops for fire-fighting operations.
The VIIRS satellite snapped a photo from space at 1.06am yesterday showing 73 forest-fire hot spots in the North. There were 20 in Lampang, 17 in Nan, 11 in Lamphun, nine in Chiang Mai, eight in Phayao, five in Tak and three in Mae Hong Son.