Saturday, June 3, 2023
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Chiang Rai PM2.5 level soars

ANN/THE NATION – Northern Thailand once again topped the world pollution rankings yesterday, with Chiang Mai registering a high of 287 microgrammes (mcg) of PM2.5 dust per cubic metre, but Chiang Rai hitting 542mcg per cubic metre.

Mae Sai residents have scheduled a protest at the district office demanding that the authorities take urgent action to tackle air pollution.

Chiang Mai retained its number one spot as the world’s most polluted city on the IQAir global index, which does not feature Chiang Rai.

Thailand’s safe limit for PM2.5 – fine-dust pollution linked with early death from heart and/or lung conditions – is 50mcg per cubic metre.

Satellite images continue to show hundreds of hot spots from fires burning across the north and over the border in Myanmar and Laos.

A crackdown on the practice of burning fields in preparation for the next harvest has apparently had little effect.

In Chiang Rai, PM2.5 in Muang district measured 232mcg per cubic metre. However, in Mae Sai on the border with Myanmar, it soared to 542mcg per cubic metre – almost 11 times Thailand’s safe limit.

The polluted air has reduced visibility, and led to an increase in reports of eye and nasal irritation as well as breathing problems among locals.

Provincial agencies and volunteers are focussing on spraying water and extinguishing forest fires to combat the high levels of fine dust in the air.

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