Southern Thailand has been hit by haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia but the level of air pollution poses no threat to health, an official said Tuesday. Air quality in the southern province of Songkhla, 950 kilometers (600 miles) south of Bangkok, fell below the national standard late Monday, AFP reported citing Thailand’s Pollution Control Department.
“Although air quality is not hazardous to the public, we have advised people with health problems to see doctors,” a departmental official said. Visibility was reduced to two kilometers (1.24 miles) in the province, the department added.
Four other southern provinces apart from Songkhla, including Thailand’s holiday isle of Phuket, were hit by haze. Indonesia has deployed around 1,500 firefighters to battle hundreds of forest fires raging on Sumatra island and Indonesia’s Borneo.
Burning in Indonesia and some parts of Malaysia to clear land for crops causes an annual haze that afflicts countries in the region, including Singapore and Thailand. The Food and Agriculture Organization last year called on Asian nations to enforce bans on open burning to prevent the annual haze crisis.