Chiang Mai struggles with dangerous PM2.5 readings for five days

Air pollution has become a seasonal problem in Thailand. - Reuters

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Fine dust levels in the northern city of Chiang Mai have risen beyond safe levels for five consecutive days, the provincial authorities announced on Sunday.

Chiang Mai governor Nirat Pongsitthavorn said the concentration of PM2.5 particulate matter had risen beyond the safe level of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air (μg/m3) mainly due to forest fires.

The Air4Thai app operated by the Pollution Control Department reported that the air quality in Chiang Mai Muang district’s Sri Phum area came in at 73μg/m3 on Sunday morning. Air quality in Hot district’s Hang Dong area measured at 90μg/m3.

The safe level of PM2.5 in Thailand has been set at 50μg/m3, though the World Health Organisation (WHO) sets it at 12μg/m3 or lower. PM2.5 stands for dust particles that are 2.5 microns or less in size and can severely affect people with chronic lung disease.

Nirat said several forest fires were detected on Saturday in the Doi Inthanon National Park by the weather satellite monitoring system. He added that though the park had managed to put out the fire, the fine dust was still lingering in the air due to accumulated smoke. The fire damaged nearly 3ha of the forest on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, four hotspots were detected in forest reserves in Hot district, one in Chom Thong district and another in Om Koi district.

PM2.5 pollution has become a seasonal problem in the North of Thailand mainly due to forest fires and farmers burning scrub.

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Thailand , air pollution


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