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Forest fires in Indonesia pose health risk in Thailand

Forest fires in Indonesia have affected seven provinces in Southern Thailand. Narathiwat was the hardest hit when particulate-matter levels reached 129 micrograms/cubic meter, a level that is considered to pose health risks.

Deputy chief Araya Nanthaphothidet, Pollution Control Department deputy chief will preside over a meeting of Songkhla officials today to discuss the impact of forest-fire smoke.

Environment Region 16 Office director Halem Jahmarikan advised residents to avoid going outdoors and to wear a facemask if it could not be avoided, after the level rose to 104 micrograms/cubic meter on Monday. He advised that such levels can affect respiratory systems especially in those with heart disease and asthma.

The air quality in the Hat Yai districts has not been measured as the equipment used to measure air quality was damaged by lightening several years ago, however they will be replaced by this coming Friday.

Halem has asked Narathiwaat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, Satun, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat to monitor their air pollution as the Indonesian forest fire smoke continues to reach Thailand.

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