Thailand — Haze has become critical again in the Northern Thailand region, amid more severe drought in many areas, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
In Chiang Rai province, haze particles were latest measured at 267.7 micrograms per cubic meter of air in the Nakhon Chiang Rai municipality and 431.6 micrograms per cubic meter at a local public health office in Mae Sai district, far above the safe standard level, which is at 120 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
Forest fires in the region and those in neighbouring countries have caused the air pollution.
In nearby Chiang Mai province, haze particles were latest measured at 202 micrograms per cubic meter of air, its peak this year, causing a drop in the visibility to only 200-300 meters. Local people have suffered from eye and nose irritation, which now requires them to wear glasses and face masks.
In Mae Hong Son province, raging forest fires that started on Sunday night, have created thick haze, especially in the heart of the province, causing delays in aviation flights and passengers had to travel by road to catch flights at the Chiang Mai Airport.
Meanwhile, in Lamphun province, drought had covered seven districts and damaged over 100,000 rai or 160 square kilometers of local farmlands, troubling over 146,000 people.
Draught has also been expanding in Phichit province in the lower part of the region and natural waterways have been drying up, leading to water shortages in many areas and prompting the provincial governor to have declared 103 villages in four districts as drought-stricken areas.
In the Northeast region, the Mekong River in the Nakhon Phanom province is now at its shallowest level in three decades, forcing boats to be moored over one kilometer away from their piers in Tha Uthen district and imports of farm products have dropped by over 50 per cent lately.