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Upper Thailand hit by ‘unsafe’ PM2.5 haze, Bangkok next

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Thailand's PM2.5 pollution eased on Monday with Bangkok, the Central, East and South regions all declared “safe” by the government’s Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation (CAPM).

"However, the air quality in 25 North and Northeast provinces – Chiang Rai, Phayao, Chiang Mai, Nan, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Phetchabun, Uthai Thani, Lopburi, Saraburi, Prachin Buri, Nong Khai, Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Khon Kaen, Kalasin, Roi Et, Chaiyaphum, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Ratchasima – is unsafe," said CAPM deputy spokeswoman Siwaporn Rangsiyanon.

Chiang Mai on Monday suffered PM2.5 levels as a high as 66 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3), according to the CAPM, though the popular aqicn.org website measured levels as high as 164μg/m3 over the past 48 hours. Thailand's safe level is set at 50μg/m3, twice that of the World Health Organisation.

The air quality in Bangkok and its vicinity would hit unsafe levels again on Wednesday and Thursday, according the CAPM forecast. Air quality in other regions is likely to improve.

"Therefore, we ask people to refrain from burning crops in the open air, reduce time spent on outdoor activities, use protective accessories and see a doctor if they have symptoms [such as breathing difficulties]," said the spokeswoman.

The CAPM is cooperating with other government agencies to tackle the PM2.5 situation.

"The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has ordered its officials to collect information related to wildfire, smog and PM2.5 for provincial governors, while the Department of Local Administration has instructed its officials to prevent and resolve problems related to PM2.5 in their area, especially agricultural and community areas," Siwaporn said.

She added that PM2.5 levels can be monitored via the Air4Thai.com website or smartphone app, or the CAPM Facebook page. Other pollution-monitoring websites are available.

Published : January 25, 2021

By : The Nation