Air pollution rise in northern Thailand attributed to 149 controlled forest fires

PHOTO: The Nation

Concern grows as the air pollution problem in the North and North-east regions of Thailand threatens to affect the health of the public.

Phrae (northern Thailand) was the worst affected area in Thailand on Monday morning with the PM2.5 reaching 102 micrograms per cubic metre and the Air Quality Index (AQI) level of 212, while PM10 hit 132 micrograms.

The Climate Change Data Centre has attributed the rise of PM2.5 over the last few days to the burning of several controlled fires in the North to prevent future forest fires. Thailand has 149 fire ‘hotspots’ from February 4-10, making it second only to Cambodia with 159, while Vietnam had 61 and Myanmar 18. Many of the fires, unofficially, are from the burning off of cane and rice plantations in readiness for new crops.

Lampang’s Mae Mo district, Chiang Mai’s Saraphi and Hot district, Lamphun and Phrae’s Long and Rong Kwang districts have all been classified as “affecting health” due to the high levels of air pollution.

Local residents are being advised to remain indoors when possible, with those who are more vulnerable (due to age, pregnancy or chronic ailments) to be extra careful.

SOURCE: The Nation 

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