Artificial rain helps ease haze

Artificial rain helps ease haze

29 February 2012

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Thailand –The first day of a new round of artificial rainmaking that began on Monday is helping ease the haze problem in the northern provinces, with dust particle levels exceeding the safety standard reported in only three provinces.

The Northern Rain Making Operation Centre met Tuesday, the second day of the cloud-seeding process.

Centre director Song Klinprathum said the relative humidity is not adequate for rainmaking now. Its aircraft spread urea to seed clouds and increase humidity at a height of 9,000 feet.

Monday’s operation reduced the density of dust particles in Chiang Mai to 60 micrograms per cubic metre, measured at Chiang Mai city hall.

Particulate matter in other northern provinces also dropped and the over-safety-standard level of dust particles is being reported only in three provinces –Chiang Rai, Phayao and Lampang .

The Pollution Control Department reported that the dust particle level on Tuesday was between 45-278.8 micrograms per cubic metre.

Overall air quality is ranging from moderate to high, posing health risks. Despite the drop in the level of dust particles, widespread forest fires in Thailand’s North and in neighbouring Laos and Burma are a major obstacle to tackling the haze problem.

From Jan 1-Feb 18, nearly 11,600 Mae Hong Son residents sought medical treatment due to haze-related illnesses, with main complaints related to the respiratory system, the skin and the eyes, said Dr Paisan Thanyawinichkul, Provincial Public Health Office chief.

Responding to the health problem, the Mae Hong Son Public Health Office delivered 40,000 masks to health centres in seven districts for distribution to residents.

Although the level of the dust particles in the province reduced to 159.9 microgram/cubic metre on Monday, it still exceeded the safety limit, Dr Paisan explained.

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