Thailand –Pollution in Mae Sai reaches critical levels
Haze pollution in the North yesterday hit the highest levels in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, since January, the Department of Pollution Control says.
Somchai: Confident things will improve
The level of 323.4 microgrammes per cubic metre was recorded yesterday, after two consecutive days of the district developing critical haze pollution of more than 300ug/cu/m. On Thursday, it was nearly 306ug/cu/m.
The pollution is believed to stem from both forest fires and fires that farmers set alight on their fields to prepare for new crops.
In Mae Sai district, the particles have exceeded the safety standard of 120ug/cu/m since the middle of February and dramatically increased last week.
The department said nine provinces in the North have been facing haze problems.
They are Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae, Phayao and Tak.
Of them, four provinces have faced level of particles more than 200ug/cu/m – Chiang Rai (323.4), Tak (277.5), Phayao (250.2) and Mae Hong Son (220.1).
Pornsook Jongprasit, director of the department’s Air Quality and Noise Management Bureau, said the situation is likely to recover by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Meteorological Department deputy chief Somchai Baimoung expressed confidence the situation is likely to improve shortly as showers or rain are expected in the next few days.
“As soon as cold weather fades out, the haze problem is going to end,” he said.
In Tak, officials have found three hotspots in three national parks while bushfires have raged through more than 500 rai of forest area along the Thai-Myanmar border.
Udomsak Palakawong na Ayudhya, the chief of the bushfire control station in Mae Sot district, said yesterday his team has found three major hotspots in the Taksin Maharaj National Park, the Pa Charoen National Park and the Mae Moei National Park.
If a bushfire broke out at any of those three spots, the fire could damage a vast forest area.
He has sought cooperation from local army units in assigning troopers to help put out fires at the three hotspots.
“We have found that wildfire has burnt around 500 rais of forest area under our jurisdiction,” Mr Udomsak said.
Tak governor Suriya Prasatpundit said he has instructed the Mae Sot City municipality and local administrative organisations in Mae Sot to spray water into the air. He also wants them to water plants to improve air conditions amid thick haze from bushfires.
In Mae Hong Son, the downtown area in Muang district was still covered by thick haze yesterday.
Poor visibility in the morning forced Kan Airline and Nok Air to cancel their Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son flights in the morning.
Stranded tourists have to rent minibuses to travel from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai instead, local tour operator Siri-orn Rangsiritanon said.
Haze problems in Chiang Rai have continued as well, with few immediate signs of the problem abating.
Nopparat U-thong, the director of the Region 3 of Chiang Rai Primary Education Office, said he has told teachers to pay close attention to students, who may be suffering health problems from the haze.