Srettha lauds Chiang Mai’s victory over air pollution, vows continued support


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed appreciation for the work local agencies in Chiang Mai are doing to tackle the scourge of ultra-fine dust, resulting in much-improved air quality in the province.

Speaking to reporters after returning from Chiang Mai on Sunday, Srettha said a weather station in Chiang Mai measured PM2.5 at only 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), which was far lower than previous levels of ultra-fine dust.

“Compared to the situation this time last year, it has improved a lot,” Srettha said, commending the Chiang Mai governor, local officials, police and soldiers for their coordinated efforts in combating air pollution. The authorities in the northern province have been working to ensure that local farmers do not burn farm waste, which has been the main source of tiny 2.5-micron particles of dust in the air.

The prime minister said his government will not become complacent and will work to maintain the improved air quality.

“Now, the PM2.5 situation in Chiang Mai has improved by four to five times. It’s heartening and we must continue to maintain it,” he said.

Srettha visited Chiang Mai on Friday night after returning from Davos, Switzerland, in the morning.

While attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Srettha sought cooperation from his Cambodian counterpart Hun Manet to address forest fires and the burning of farm waste in Cambodia to control air quality across the borders.

While acknowledging the improved air quality in Chiang Mai, Srettha aired concern about the PM2.5 situation in Bangkok, emphasising the need for continued efforts to address air pollution.

As for the Chiang Mai Administrative Court’s recent ruling on the PM2.5 situation in the northern province, Srettha said his government would comply with the ruling.

In response to a petition from local residents, the court ordered the government and the national environment board to devise detailed measures to control PM2.5 in the province within 90 days.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke backed Srettha’s statement about air quality in Chiang Mai improving over the past four years by citing readings from a local weather station.

PM2.5 readings at a weather station in Muang district’s Chang Puak area on January 21 every year from 2020 came in as:

• 2020: 53μg/m3

• 2021: 58μg/m3

• 2022: 26μg/m3

• 2023: 36μg/m3

• 2024: 16.7μg/m3.