Doi Suthep-Pui National Park off limits until April-end to prevent forest fires, air pollution
The entire Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which covers the three Chiang Mai districts of Muang, Mae Rim and Hangdong, will be closed until April 30 to prevent forest fires, which have led to air pollution in the North, park chief Suthin Phromplad announced on Thursday.
“Forest fires are prone to occur in park areas during the dry season,” he pointed out.
“Among the causes of forest fires are villagers burning down the bush to hunt wild animals or farmers burning their leftover crops after harvesting and being unable to control the fire, causing it to spread into forest areas,” he said.
During the closure, those who need to enter the park must obtain permission from the park chief, which will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
“Those who enter the park without permission will be fined up to Bt100,000,” Suthin warned, adding that “those who burn their crops near the park and consequentially cause a forest fire will be fined from Bt400,000 to Bt2 million, or imprisoned from four to 20 years, or both”.
Statistics from air quality inspection centres in 14 Northern provinces have shown that particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in the region currently stands at 32-80 micrograms per cubic metre. The country’s safe standard prescribed by the Pollution Control Department (PCD) is 50 micrograms per cubic metre.
The air quality in the North is classified by the PCD as “moderate quality, but starting to affect people’s health”.