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Chiang Mai’s air pollution reaches ‘critical level’

Samui Times Editor

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Chiang Mai’s air pollution reaches ‘critical level’ | Samui Times
PHOTO:chiangmainews.co.th
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Chiang Mai is one of the most air polluted cities in the world. It’s won the top spot more than any other city for the past month. And now… it’s at a critical level! Since Sunday, authorities have been monitoring almost 400 active hotspots and fires in Chiang Mai province alone.

Unfortunately, the air quality has not improved today either, with IQAir recording recording as “very unhealthy” and “hazardous”. It’s also been very hot in and around Chiang Mai city with the temperature reaching 40C often.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said fires have undoubtedly affected air quality, with 17 provinces in the North reporting an increase in levels of PM2.5 pollutants on Sunday, but they’ve been in the ‘purple’ zone in many locations for most of the past two weeks.

Ms Narumon said the worsening pollution is caused by a combination of factors which include arson, drought and prevailing wind patterns which trap pollutants right above Thailand. Others say agri-business and plantation burn-offs has exacerbated the problem.

Most of the current blazes were related to an ongoing bushfire in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Chiang Mai’s Muang district, which suddenly raged out of control late on Saturday after burning for about a week.

Authorities deployed four helicopters to combat the blaze, while drones and paragliders were sent to help detect hotspots and suspicious activities among villagers, who have been blamed for starting the forest fires to clear land for agriculture.

A source has reported that after several fires near Hmong villages within the park and in nearby Hang Dong district were found to have been deliberately set, local villagers in the area have been instructed not to engage in slash-and-burn farming until April 30.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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