By The Nation
Many people showed up at their polling stations in Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces wearing face masks to protect themselves from fine dust in their air.
Provinces in the North have seen a sharp increase in fine particulate matter, PM2.5, blamed mostly on widespread burning of fields ahead of the next farming season.
Voters sporting face masks were asked to remove them temporarily to identify themselves at their polling station.
Lamphun Governor Attasit Samphanrat, who was seen wearing a face mask, advised voters – especially those with health problems – to protect themselves from the pollution.
He also called on eligible voters to turn out in great numbers to help retain Lamphun’s record of having the highest voter turnout in the country. In July 2011, Thailand’s last general election, Lamphun boasted a voter turnout of 88.6 per cent.
In Chiang Mai, people of all ages, including those suffering from illnesses, wore protective masks and came out to vote.