Upper North struggles with smog

national March 19, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Most of the upper North has been covered in smog for about a week, with popular tourist destinations like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai struggling with poor air quality.

The polluted air reportedly causes skin and eye irritation as well as respiration difficulties and other problems.

Most Chiang Mai residents have been wearing face masks as small dust particles in the air peaked yesterday, measuring 168 micrograms per cubic metre of air in Muang district’s Tambon Chang Phuak.

“With such a high level of pollution, people’s health is being affected,” Prayad Ananpradit said yesterday in his capacity as acting director of Chiang Mai Natural Resources and Environment Office. For people’s safety, dust particles should not exceed 120mcg per cubic metre of air.

Pollution in Chiang Rai stood at 145mcg of dust particles per cubic metre of air yesterday.

While smog problems continue haunting people in Mae Sai in the far north, locals say the presence of dust particles is less than usual.

Mae Sai district chief Somchai Rungsakhon put this down to fewer fires set up to clear land for farming.

“We asked for cooperation from people both in our province in and neighbouring Myanmar,” he said.

Apiwat Akaraponmetha, a local village chief, said Myanmar and Thailand had been working closely to address the smog problem since it hit crisis level in 2012.

Back then, the level of dust particles per cubic metre of air stood at 471mcg.


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