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Chiang Mai snags ‘most polluted’ label

Chiang Mai snags ‘most polluted’ label

THAILAND: Chiang Mai yesterday (Mar 9) received the most undesirable accolade of becoming the most polluted city on the planet.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 10 March 2021, 11:03AM

Polluted Chiang Mai. Photo: Bangkok Post file.

Polluted Chiang Mai. Photo: Bangkok Post file.

The grim news from the IQ AirVisual air monitoring website came as authorities revealed that the situation had caused 30,000 people to go to hospital because of respiratory illnesses over the last three months.

The Chiang Mai provincial public health office said 31,788 patients suffering from air pollution-related illnesses from January to March 5 this year, said Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Health under the Public Health ministry.

Chiang Mai’s air quality has been ranked one of the planet’s three worst cities for pollution since the start of March.

Then, IQ AirVisual yesterday announced that the city had in fact been the very worst place in the world for many straight days with a USAQI of 195, followed by Beijing on 182.

USAQI is an Air Quality Index used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

Yesterday morning, the level of PM2.5 in Chiang Mai rose above 200 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m3), according to IQ AirVisual and the Thailand Pollution Control Department (PCD)’s air monitoring station gave similar findings.

At noon yesterday, the level of PM2.5 recorded at Chang Puek Road in Muang district rose to almost 200 µg/m3.

Thai Residential

The Thailand Meteorological Department yesterday warned the air pollution would last for another week.

That is because the southern west wind current would be too weak to blow away the dust particles and these were trapped by the cool weather in the evenings.

The main contributor to the deteriorating situation in the North is said to be the considerable heat from wildfires caused by open burning in Myanmar forests and locally.

The northern region yesterday had 910 hotspots - 617 in protected areas, 293 in forests and 16 in individual farm plots. Mae Hong Son had the most hotspots at 442, followed by Chiang Mai at 211 and Tak 108.

Wildfires and haze in the upper North have started to impact people’s health in six provinces: Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Phayao.

Deputy commander of the Third Army Area, Maj Gen Thanadpol Kosaisewee, said 60 patrol officers have been dispatched to five districts in Chiang Mai until tomorrow.

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Kurt | 11 March 2021 - 13:00:14

Not only 32,000 people suffering.. Can safely multiply that figure. Why I am not surprised Thai officials finger point to Myanmar as being the culprit. And that Maj General is complete of the world concerning this health disaster by dispatching only 60 officers for 2 days only to look.  What a ridiculous cosmetic order by a Maj General.

Christy Sweet | 11 March 2021 - 11:55:09

The govt would do well to invest in a local company buying the waste straw from farmers to make recyclable food containers - instead of burning it off. See DW's report on Fang Thai Co., Ltd 

Sir Burr | 10 March 2021 - 12:29:20

So easy to fix by the authorities, but they're scared of losing farmer's votes.

Kurt | 10 March 2021 - 12:19:00

Many years Chiang Mai Area is the most life threatening polluted location on mother Earth. Even Chiang Mai Airport sometimes must close. I wrote that here some time ago. Sad thing is that Thai Officials are not smart enough ( or just not interested in it)to stop this man made dangerous pollution. Army can patrol province with heli's, direct RTP to burning spots to arrest culprits/landowners


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