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Koh Samui has found itself under a blanket of grey cloud. The hazardous smog has been causing problems in South East Asia for the last few weeks thanks to illegal forest fires in Indonesia. The smog has caused reduced visibility and flight delays as well as pollutants causing health concerns.
Phuket has been affected for the last few days, Koh Samui has been affected since Wednesday. Many GM’s are reporting no shows from hotel guests whose flights have been delayed and residents of the island are expressing their concerns about the health implications of the haze and the impact it will have on tourism.
Visibility on the roads is also causing concerns, motorists in Songkhla said they could see no more than 200 meters, drivers in Phatthalung province reported visibility to be down to 500 meters. The level of air pollution has risen beyond the safe limit of 120 micrograms (PM10) cubic meters in many parts of the south. In Phuket 161 primary schools have closed and in Trang province many shops on the Pakmeng beach have closed as tourists continue to stay away.
Indonesian Ambassador Lutfi Rauf said that he would meet with the Foreign Ministry today, Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said that as smog levels continue to threaten the health of those in the south he would like to assure those affected that the ministry is doing its best to solve the problem.