Air pollution problems in Thailand

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#61 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby fountainhall » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:22 pm

Gaybutton wrote:Ready for this? Now there are fake N95 masks being sold. I hope they catch whoever is doing this - and along with heavy fines and a long prison sentence

A visiting friend told me about these fake masks three weeks ago. He believes a Thai entrepreneur had them made in China. I have no idea if the real ones can be purchased in that country. I assume so as the government would surely crack down on fakes that affect health of tens of millions. All I know is that a vast number of people wear them during the smog periods in many cities.

My friend returned to New York 10 days ago and has sent a batch of genuine ones to his friends here. I assume that those sold by amazon are probably also genuine. I wonder about Lazada's stock, though.

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#62 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Jun » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:26 pm

Gaybutton wrote:Ready for this? Now there are fake N95 masks being sold. I hope they catch whoever is doing this - and along with heavy fines and a long prison sentence, if there is any justice, how about taking him to the most polluted areas and let him breath that air for a few days - without any mask at all.

That reads like you are surprised that fake N95 masks are being sold. Unlike you !

I had assumed that of course there will be fakes around, as:
1 Developing Asia is riddled with fakes of all kinds of product.
2 There is very little concern for health and safety in this part of the world. People wear sandals on building sites. They do arc welding with sunglasses, not a proper mask. Angle grinders are used without eye protection, ear defenders or a face mask. Pop into the diy store and they sell "safety" glasses that are not marked as conforming with any recognised standard for impact resistance.

I will probably bring a mask from home on the next trip.

With Amazon, the "Sold and Fulfilled by Amazon" branded products should be good, but beware of third party sellers on Amazon marketplace. Some dodgy product there. And Amazon really should make the difference more prominent.

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#63 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:40 am

Jun wrote:That reads like you are surprised that fake N95 masks are being sold.

You read correctly. I was definitely taken by surprise on this one. Maybe I shouldn't have been, but I was.

If I wish to buy one of these masks, I'll buy it at a hospital or a reputable pharmacy such as Fascino. And even then I'll be carefully double checking to make sure what I'm buying is genuine.

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#64 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby fountainhall » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:02 pm

Perhaps Bangkok should look to Helsinki as a way to persuade more people to take public transport.

Since 2016, Helsinki residents have been able to use an app called Whim to plan and pay for all modes of public and private transportation within the city—be it by train, taxi, bus, carshare, or bikeshare. Anyone with the app can enter a destination, select his or her preferred mode of getting there—or, in cases where no single mode covers the door-to-door journey, a combination thereof—and go. Users can either pre-pay for the service as part of a monthly mobility subscription, or pay as they go using a payment account linked to the service.

The goal is to make it so convenient for users to get around that they opt to give up their personal vehicles for city commuting, not because they’re forced to, but because the alternative is more appealing. According to Sampo Hietanen, the visionary behind Whim, “We want to prove that we can beat the service level of a car. Or at least be comparable to it. We want to show that people want it, not just that we can do it.”

. . . Helsinki’s vision represents the next revolution in mobility: mobility as a service (MaaS). At its core, MaaS relies on a digital platform that integrates end-to-end trip planning, booking, electronic ticketing, and payment services across all modes of transportation, public or private. It’s a marked departure from where most cities are today, and from how mobility has been delivered until now.

Rather than having to locate, book, and pay for each mode of transportation separately, MaaS platforms let users plan and book door-to-door trips using a single app. By answering the question of how best to get individual users where they’re going based on real-time conditions throughout the network, taking account of all the possible options and each user’s own preferences (for example, time and convenience vs. cost), and facilitating seamless mobile payment, MaaS starts to move us toward a more user-centered mobility paradigm.

Helsinki's aim is the persuade city residents that they have no need to own a car by 2025.

Mind you, Helsinki's buses, trams and other transport systems are spotlessly clean and efficient. The city's land area is also vastly smaller than Bangkok. I doubt if we will be able to say that in Bangkok by 2045!

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/e ... rvice.html

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#65 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:19 am

Now it's Khon Kaen's turn. The only thing I can think of for Thailand to do about it would be to enact strict pollution control laws and actually rigidly enforce them. Of course, most of you probably know as well as I do what the chances of that are, especially the enforcement part.

The fact that Thailand has so far done virtually nothing, at least nothing effective, is on my "I Don't Get It" list. Don't the powers-that-be have to breathe the same air everybody else does.

Between Trump's science denying and out of control pollution, I guess they just won't be happy until humans go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct.
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It’s getting dangerous to breathe in Khon Kaen

February 11, 2019

The Nation

KHON KAEN, an economic hub of Thailand’s Northeast, has been struggling with serious air pollution for at least four consecutive days.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) as of yesterday stood at 206 and the level of PM2.5 particles per cubic metre of air hovered between 96 and 103 micrograms. All the readings were well beyond safe limits.

AQI beyond 200 signifies unhealthy air, triggering warning to not venture outdoors without a facemask, while the safe level for PM2.5 is 50 per cubic metre.

The World Health Organisation has described PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter – as “carcinogenic”. Exposure to a dangerous level of PM2.5 poses health risk and in severe cases can lead to death.

Khon Kaen residents have been at risk since last Thursday.

On February 7 the AQI touched 208 and PM2.5 hit 98. The following day the AQI stood at 213 and PM2.5 103. On Saturday the AQI was 206 and PM2.5 96.

Haze has enveloped Muang, Chum Phae, Mancha Khiri, Kranuan, Ubol Rattana and Phra Yuen districts.

“We are now spraying water in all 26 districts to help ease the problem,” Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Changtragul said, adding that action would be taken against farmers burning off weeds in their sugarcane fields.

“We have asked factories to blacklist farmers who bring in sugarcane that shows burn marks, a sign that the farmer set fire to his field at a time when the air pollution is serious,” Somsak said.

Planes from the Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department have arrived in Khon Kaen to help artificially seed clouds to produce rain.

Other provinces are also suffering with air pollution, the worst hit being Chon Buri, Nan, Uttaradit and Loei.

Bangkok has fared better in recent days and yesterday the air in most parts of the capital was deemed safe.

Pollution Control Department chief Phuwiang Prakammin said the air quality around Bangkok had improved because breezy weather had dissipated the fine dust particles and smoke.

However, Bangkok’s will worsen between February 13 and 15, the Meteorological Department warned.

Story and photos: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30363870

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#66 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:09 am

Haze and air pollution return to Bangkok this week

February 11, 2019

Air pollution around Bangkok is expected to worsen again this week with an increase in the level of PM2.5 dust particles.

A high-pressure cell over the Central region is forecast and will degrade the air around Bangkok between February 13 and 15, according to the Meteorological Department. Temperatures will also drop slightly in the Central and North regions this week.

Pollution Control Department chief Phuwiang Prakammin said the current improved air quality around Bangkok is due to better air circulation, causing fine dust particles and smoke to dissipate. Bangkok’s air pollution readings for Sunday remain “moderate”, while the Northeast has another bad day with smog and smoke pollution settling around the agricultural areas.

Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Nan and Uttaradit are experiencing a worse haze problem this year compared to previous years due to the burning of sugarcane stalks.

Metropolitan police deputy commissioner Pol Maj-Gen Jirasant Kaewsaeng-aek said almost 8,000 vehicles found to be emitting excessive black exhaust had been seized in the first week of February.

He said the number of vehicles found violating pollution rules had dropped from an average of 500-600 a day to about 400.

https://pattayaone.news/en/air-pollutio ... n-bangkok/
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Stern action pledged as people defy burn ban

by Surachai Piraksa

12 Feb 2019

Buri Ram: Officials are adopting a mixed approach to help deal with the toxic haze that has shrouded parts of the province, as local residents continue to ignore the ban on the outdoor burning of waste.

As well as warning local residents about the negative impacts of the haze on their health, local authorities will begin to mete out severe punishments in a bid to help reduce the concentration of hazardous micro pollutants -- especially PM2.5 -- which has been rising significantly around the Northeastern provinces.

The rising level of dust and other micro pollutants is caused by outdoor burning to help dispose of waste generated by sugarcane plantations and general household waste, as well as traditional slash-and-burn farming practices.

Officials have blamed farmers and households who defy the ban on outdoor burning as the "main cause" of the haze problem, and pledged tough action on those who continue such practices.

Nawanit Phonkhen, an official at Buri Ram agriculture office, said that offenders will face jail terms of between 2-15 years, as well as a fine of up to 150,000 baht.

Buri Ram governor Thirawat Wutthikhun ordered all 23 district chiefs to publicise the warnings throughout the province to make people more aware of the health impacts of PM2.5 pollutants, as well as the penalties for violating the ban. Two or three noticeboards will be put up in each district, Mr Nawanit said.

A neighbouring province, Khon Kaen, is also suffering from a significant drop in air quality, although PM2.5 levels had slightly improved as of Monday.

"The pollution warning have been changed from red to orange, but we will continue to closely monitor air quality," said Khon Kaen governor Somsak Changtrakun.

Khon Kaen had reported PM2.5 levels of above 100 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), although as of Monday the levels have dropped to 89 µg/m³, which is still well above the so-called "safe" threshold of 50 µg/m³.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... y-burn-ban

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#67 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:00 pm

This air pollution problem apparently is getting worse and more and more areas seem to be having serious problems. Wearing an N95 facemask may help, but does anyone truly believe a facemask is going to neutralize the problem? Thailand could do much to bring this problem under control, but all I've seen so far is all talk and no action.
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Air in nation’s North is dangerous to breathe

February 12, 2019

Residents in many northern provinces were on Tuesday breathing air containing more than double the country’s official safe limit of PM2.5, particulates of 2.5 micrograms or smaller per cubic metre, according to the daily update from the Pollution Control Department’s website. ( http://air4thai.pcd.go.th )

Lampang’s four monitoring stations on Tuesday morning cited Air Quality Index (AQI) levels beyond 100 microns per cubic metre, double Thailand’s safe limit and four times the World Health Organisation’s 25-microgram safety boundary.

Lampang responded to the recent jump in toxicity by closing its Doi Phra Baht forest, currently ravaged by multiple spots of fire, from Tuesday until April. They will set up checkpoints to deny unauthorized access by outsiders who are not involved in fighting the forest fires, according to the resolution of a Lampang meeting of related agencies on Monday afternoon.

The PCD’s method of basing their numbers on averaging the 24-hour levels, resulted in their reporting lower levels of pollution when compared to the real-time basis reports from other sources, such as the Chiang Mai University mobile “Dust Boy” devices and the Chiang Mai Air Quality Health Index (CMAQHI) Centre.

According to PCD, the amount of PM2.5 dust in the North as of 9am was between 28 and 141 micrograms, peaking at 141 micrograms in Phrae’s Muang along with an AQI level of 251. Lampang’s Muang district station cited 106 micrograms of PM2.5 and an AQI of 216, while three stations in Mae Mo district cited 116 micrograms (with an AQI level of 216), 136 micrograms (with an AQI level of 246), and 113 micrograms (with an AQI level of 223), the PCD said. Chiang Mai’s Muang district station cited 77 micrograms of PM2.5 and an AQI level of 168.

The PCD cited PM2.5 in other northern provinces as follows: Tak’s Mae Sot district at 51 micrograms (with an AQI level of 101); Nan’s Muang and Chalerm Phrakiat districts at 64 micrograms (with an AQI level of 134) and 51 micrograms (with an AQI level of 101); Phayao’s Muang district at 54 micrograms (with an AQI level of 109); Lamphun’s Muang district at 71 micrograms (with an AQI level of 152) and Mae Hong Son’s Muang district at 51 micrograms (with an AQI level of 101).

In Chiang Mai, where the sky turned brownish due to haze, the CMAQHI Centre cited Mae Rim and Doi Lo districts as having the province’s PM2.5 peak at 151 and 106 micrograms and with AQI levels at 201 and 177 respectively. Hang Dong district had 99 micrograms of PM2.5 and an AQI level of 173, while Muang district had 73 micrograms and an AQI level of 160, the centre reported.

Chiang Mai provincial authority announced imposition of a 60-day outdoor-burning ban from March 1 to April 30. People giving useful information leading to a culprit’s arrest will get a cash reward of Bt5,000.

In the wake of the haze, the public health authority warned people to wear a facemask during outdoor activities. They also advised members of “vulnerable” groups such as small children, senior citizens, pregnant women and those with chronic ailments to avoid being outdoors. A facemask of N95 standard is needed to filter the tiny PM2.5 particulates.

story and photos: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30363974

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#68 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Postby Gaybutton » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:11 am

Chiang Mai is now listed as the third most air polluted city - not just in Thailand, but in the world.

Phrae Governor Pongrat Piromrat said a long-running public awareness campaign on the dangers of smog would help reduce outdoor fires – which are widely blamed for the haze.

I hope they also realize that many more factors significantly contribute to the smog. I don't think anyone reading this needs me to list what those factors are.

Great! Humans have managed to render our air unfit to breathe, our food unfit to eat, our water unfit to drink, and for millions our environment unfit to live in. And humans are supposed to be the most intelligent of all living creatures on this planet?
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Chiang Mai third most polluted city

February 13, 2019

By THE NATION

Sky in northern capital turns brownish as Air Quality Index gives it ‘unhealthy’ reading.

CHIANG MAI yesterday ranked third on the global list of cities with worst air pollution, based on Air Quality Index (AQI) records, by an internationally recognised AirVisual platform.

Chiang Mai’s AQI scores stood at 194 as of press time, a level considered “unhealthy”. Any figure beyond 200 is very unhealthy. Across the world, Chiang Mai’s severe air pollution was just behind the Indian capital of New Delhi (AQI 215) and Pakistan’s Lahore (AQI 197). AirVisual prides itself for making the world’s largest air-quality data available at one’s fingertips.

In Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of many provinces in the North struggling with smog, including Lampang, Phrae, Lamphun and Nan.

In Chiang Mai, the sky turned brownish yesterday due to the haze. The Chiang Mai Air Quality Health Index (CMAQHI) Centre cited Mae Rim and Doi Lor districts as having the worst pollution with PM2.5 particles in a cubic metre of air recording 151 and 106 micrograms respectively. Hang Dong district had 99 micrograms of PM2.5, while Muang district had 73 micrograms, the centre reported.

PM2.5 are particles of 2.5 micrograms or smaller in diameter. According to the Pollution Control Department (PCD), when the amount of PM2.5 exceeds 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air, it is not safe to breathe.

Prof Dr Khuanchai Supparatpinyo, who heads the Chiang Mai University’s Research Institute for Health Sciences, said yesterday that the smog had hurt people’s health, the environment, tourism and the economy.

“People of all ages are adversely affected,” he said.

According to him, outdoor fires are among the major causes of air pollution. Researchers from his institute have developed small sensors to detect the amount of dust particles in real time so as to issue timely advisories and warnings.

Fighting outdoor fires

“We believe public awareness will nudge people to stop outdoor fires and monitor behaviour in their communities,” Khuanchai said.

His centre’s initiative has been extended to some educational institutes in nearby provinces too, so students and teachers there know how to protect themselves against polluted air.

Long-time exposure to air pollution can cause many health problems, and in extreme cases, it can be linked to death.

Air-quality problems are now posing major concerns, as residents in many northern provinces have recently been breathing air containing more than double the country’s official safe limit of PM2.5.

For instance, the amount of PM2.5 peaked at between 106 and 136 micrograms per cubic metre of air in various Lampang districts yesterday. Chiang Mai’s Muang district had 77 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, while in Nan’s Muang and Chalerm Phrakiat districts, the amount of PM2.5 hovered at around 64 micrograms and 51 micrograms per cubic metre of air respectively.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told the Cabinet yesterday that efforts to fight smog must become a part of the national agenda.

“The prime minister has instructed all relevant authorities to provide guidelines to engage all sectors in finding a sustainable solution to the prevention of smog,” Deputy Government Spokesman Lt-General Werachon Sukondhapatipak said.

Phrae Governor Pongrat Piromrat said a long-running public awareness campaign on the dangers of smog would help reduce outdoor fires – which are widely blamed for the haze.

“As for short-term measures, we are now spraying water to bring down the dust,” he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30364016

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#69 Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:10 am

I changed the topic title from "Air pollution problems in Bangkok" to "Air pollution problems in Thailand." Since the first reports, now the air pollution problems are occurring in areas other than just Bangkok, mainly Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai along with other areas too.

Now there are calls for schools to close in Chiang Mai due to the air pollution. I don't know what good that will do. The students still will have to breathe the same air and my guess is few families can afford to buy the kinds of face masks that offer decent protection. Click the link at the end of the article and you'll see photos of people wearing face masks - unfortunately the ineffective kind. Those standard face masks might help a little bit, but to me you might as well say removing a bucket of sand from a beach cuts down on sand grains.

Thailand keeps talking about taking action against air pollution, but very little is actually being done, and almost nothing effective. There simply isn't enough police manpower to be able to enforce the rules. Maybe the powers-that-be can call in the military to help with enforcement. I hope so.

Part of the article says, "authorities vowed tough action against those lighting outdoor fires." Great! When are those "authorities" going to actually start doing that?

This is the first time I've ever seen Thailand's air pollution problems get this bad. With all the exhaust belching cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses, tour buses, factories constantly spewing out pollution, construction sites doing nothing to curtail the dust, crop burning, and God knows what else, what did they expect? Once again, it demonstrates that anything proactive is a rarity in Thailand. I'd at least like to see something reactive going on, but so far nothing impressive. And we're in the midst of the dry season in Thailand, so the weather helping out is not going to happen.

Of course, those causing the pollution - and worldwide, not just Thailand - are much more worried about money than their environment. Fine! When humanity is about to become extinct, which may be soon if things don't change, maybe the last survivors will bury the polluters and toss their bank account passbooks into the coffins with them . . .

Here's the latest:
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Calls for schools in Chiang Mai to close as haze crisis worsens

February 14, 2019

With Chiang Mai entering the global list for worst air pollution, calls are growing for schools and educational institutes in the northern province to close down temporarily for the sake of students.

“The Chiang Mai University [CMU], in particular, should suspend its classes until the situation improves. Not only will this save students, but it will also raise public awareness of the severity of smog,” the Legal Research and Development Centre of CMU’s Faculty of Laws said in a statement yesterday.

The statement was released after AirVisual, an internationally recognised platform for air-quality data, ranked Chiang Mai as the world’s third-most polluted city on Tuesday afternoon. The sky in Chiang Mai has been of brownish hue for several days now.

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) reported yesterday that the level of PM2.5 – airborne particulates of 2.5 microns or less in diameter – in Chiang Mai’s Muang district hovered at around 85-94 micrograms per cubic metre of air, well above the 50mcg safe limit. PM10 was at 114mcg to 123mcg, exceeding the 100mcg safe limit, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) ranged between 188mcg and 203mcg, double the 100mcg safety threshold.

CMU’s Legal Research and Development Centre said that in the face of such serious air pollution, government agencies should start handing out free protective masks to people.

The centre added that relevant authorities in Chiang Mai should also urgently draw up tangible long-term solutions for smog – which has been affecting the province for over a decade now.

“If those in power do not take action or show any responsibility, they should be transferred,” the centre declared.

Meanwhile, PCD said the amount of small dust particles in the North was very high yesterday mainly due to forest fires. There have been more than 1,000 hotspots in the North this past week.

Though haze in the northern province of Phrae appeared to have eased yesterday, it was still at a worrying level with PM2.5 per cubic metre of air recorded at 68mcg and its AQI at 141, down from 130mcg and 240 respectively. The haze was so bad on Tuesday that one aircraft was not able to land at Phrae Airport.

Smog also enveloped the nearby province of Nan for three consecutive days, as locals rushed to burn agricultural fires before authorities imposed a ban in their area.

In nearby Lampang, the smog was so bad that authorities vowed tough action against those lighting outdoor fires.

A strict ban has been imposed on outdoor fires in Lampang province from February 10 to April 10. In Nan, Phrae, Phayao and Chiang Rai provinces, the ban will run from tomorrow until April 15. As for Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son and Tak, the ban will run from March to April.

After about 10 days of respite, Bangkok and its adjacent provinces saw a return of the smog crisis yesterday.

Of the 43 areas where air-quality monitoring devices have been placed, 28 were found to have gone past the PM2.5 safe limit as of 3pm yesterday.

In the morning there were just two areas with unsafe levels of PM2.5, but by noon yesterday, the number of areas with unsafe levels of PM2.5 had risen to 14.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30364090

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#70 Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:48 am

Chiang Mai University urges people to stay indoors as pollution worsens

By Nisanart Kangwalwaong
THE NATION

February 21, 2019

In the face of persistent air pollution in the North, Chiang Mai University (CMU) has decided to issue warnings for locals to think twice before using the outdoor zone of its stadium.

If PM2.5 dust particles exceeds 35.5 micrograms per cubic metre of air within 24 hours, CMU will put up a sign warning children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with respiratory, heart and brain arteries problems, and athletes to avoid going outdoors.

If PM2.5 goes beyond 55.5mcg per cubic metre of air, the warning will cover everyone.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described PM2.5, or dust particles that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter, as carcinogenic. Prolonged exposure can cause several health problems and in severe cases, even death.

According to Thailand’s Pollution Control Department (PCD), air is unsafe when PM2.5 level exceeds 50mcg per cubic metre. Several provinces have been struggling with PM2.5 particles in the air for several months.

Chiang Mai is among the hardest hit provinces, and CMU has announced that it will close its stadium’s outdoor zone if the PM2.5 level goes beyond 150mcg per cubic metre of air.

PCD said yesterday that the PM2.5 level in Chiang Mai is slightly beyond the safe limit. Readings in Muang Chiang Mai’s tambons of Chang Pheuk and Sri Phum stood at 58mcg and 53mcg respectively, while the reading at tambon Chang Kerng in Mae Chaem district was 53.

Meanwhile, PM2.5 levels in Tak’s Mae Pa tambon stood at 52mcg; Muang Phayao’s Wiang was 62; Muang Lampang’s Phra Baht was 52 and Muang Lamphun’s Ban Klang at 64.

As forest fires are worsening the haze across the North and Northeast, shovel-wielding troops and a pair of MI17 helicopters are battling the blazes in Lamphun and Chiang Mai. They had previously helped douse similar fires in Lampang province.

The Third Army Region’s special front command for haze control, operating in nine provinces in the North, is among the slew of agencies working on the problem.

Third Army Region deputy commander Maj-General Bancha Suriyapan used the Line application to deploy troops for fire-fighting operations.

The VIIRS satellite snapped a photo from space at 1.06am yesterday showing 73 forest-fire hot spots in the North. There were 20 in Lampang, 17 in Nan, 11 in Lamphun, nine in Chiang Mai, eight in Phayao, five in Tak and three in Mae Hong Son.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30364469


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