Sunday, September 22, 2019

Chiang Mai kids hoist anti-smog flag, demanding action

Mar 03. 2019
Photo Courtesy of Pharadon Phonamnuai's Facebook page
Photo Courtesy of Pharadon Phonamnuai's Facebook page
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By Chularat Saengpassa
The Nation

7,543 Viewed

Children and their parents in smog-choked Chiang Mai have issued a new Facebook challenge with the hashtag #CleanAirAct in which people have their photos taken with an “anti-PM2.5 dust” flag and post the pictures online to demand action.

Photo Courtesy of Pharadon Phonamnuai's Facebook page

Campaign organiser Pharadon Phonamnuai, pointing out that the North has had severe haze problems for a decade and never gets the same attention from state agencies, scholars and the overseas media that Bangkok did in December and January, is inviting residents to take photos to post at landmarks such as the Three Kings Monument, the city wall and the Rin Kham intersection. 

Local youngsters identified by the nicknames Pleng, Plodpran, Cin, Pitta and Tonkla initiated the project with their parents “to convey the message that we don’t want PM2.5 dust”, Pharadon quoted Cin as saying.

“Where is the clean air for children?” the kids want to know.

Photo Courtesy of Pharadon Phonamnuai's Facebook page

The flags are homemade, at least for now.

The level of PM2.5 in Chiang Mai – harmful airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – has topped the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air since February 25 until Saturday (March 2), according to the Pollution Control Department, but on Sunday it ranged from 31 to 48mcg.

In Muang Mae Hong Son, however, the PM2.5 level was 94mcg. This “code-red” 94mcg level was recorded in the tambon of Jong Kham, along with an Air Quality Index score of 204, double the safe limit of 100.

Multiple forest fires are believed to be contributing to the haze in Mae Hong Son.

Forest fires are also raging in Phayao despite a ban in place through April 15 on outdoor burning. 

As of publication time on Sunday, at least three forest fires were burning out of control in mountainous Dok Kham Tai district, covering hundreds of rai. 

PM2.5 in Phayao on Sunday morning was nevertheless 47mcg, the first dip below the safety limit since February 25.

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