Smoke from fires cuts visibility, hits fishermen

Smoke from fires cuts visibility, hits fishermen

2 July 2006

published by Bangkok Post

Asthmatic children warned to stay inside

Bangkok, Thailand — Haze from wildfires in Indonesia has blanketed parts of the southernprovince of Satun, particularly coastal areas, causing poor visibility.

Authorities have advised children with asthma or other breathing problems to stay indoors to avoid the smoky air. Fishermen have found it difficultto go out to sea because of poor visibility caused by the drifting smoke.

Raging forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island is blamed for the haze, which has become an annual problem in Southeast Asia. Jae MeedRanwasri, a trawler captain, said the haze pollution posed a big problem for thosenavigating boats. The smoke tends to thicken in the morning and in the afternoon, he said. Mr Jae said visibility on the sea is down to only about4.8 kilometres due to the heavy smoke which has been hanging over the province for two days. Small trawlers setting sail without radar will runthe risk of getting lost, he said. The haze also covered parts of the Malaysian states of Kedah and Perlis.

Kochem Meenhem, deputy director of Satun’s provincial education office, urged parents to take care of children with respiratory problems. They areadvised to stop engaging in activities in the open air and stay inside their homes to avoid the smoke. He said it had yet to be confirmed whetherthe smoky sky was caused by a low-pressure trough or the haze from forest fires on Sumatra.

Sompong Thanasamban, head of Satun’s meteorological office, said the province will continue to see cloudy skies today, with southwesterly windsof up to 40kph. Visibility on the roads will be reduced to 10km.


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