Air Force, officials tackle smog

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Soldiers are dispatched yesterday to combat worsening smog in Chiang Rai’s Muang District as pollution levels rose beyond safe levels.

Soldiers are dispatched yesterday to combat worsening smog in Chiang Rai’s Muang District as pollution levels rose beyond safe levels.

‘Water flights’ planned to counter pollution in Chiang Rai as residents risk health problems; agricultural fires blamed

SEVEN provinces in the North are now suffering bad air pollution, with Chiang Rai the hardest-hit and residents at risk of developing health problems. As of yesterday, the amount of small dust particles (PM10) in Chiang Rai jumped to 304 micrograms per cubic metre of air – far over the safe level of 120 micrograms.

In a bid to help ease the air-quality problem, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will dispatch planes to spray water to mitigate the problem.

The level of air pollution could affect the health of people in the area, the Pollution Control Department (PCD) warned.

Pollution in Mae Hong Son in the northwest was also serious with PM10 particulate matter reaching 229 micrograms per cubic metre.

The five other pollution-hit provinces are Phayao, Nan, Phrae, Lampang and Chiang Mai. They had 147, 155, 142, 137 and 135 micrograms of PM10 particles per cubic metre of air respectively.

The Air Force in collaboration with Chiang Rai authorities has set up a disaster relief centre at the Mae Fah Luang Airport as parts of efforts to curb air pollution.

From this base, aircraft will take off to spray water and trying to disperse the smog. The centre plans two flights a day with each flight dumping 3,000 litres of water.

PCD director general Wijarn Simachaya said yesterday that air quality in many provinces had worsened partly because of smog spread from Myanmar. “We will write to the Asean Secretariat to ask that nations in the Greater Mekong Subregion refrain from lighting [agricultural] fires for the time being,” he said. Agricultural fires are the key cause of smoggy conditions.

Nipon Jomnongsirisak, head of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation office in Chiang Rai, said yesterday his office had detected 65 hotspots between February 17 and March 23 in Chiang Rai.

“On Wednesday, these hotspots covered more than 706 rai [113 hectares],” he said.

The authorities have been fighting illegal agricultural fires since last month and have set up monitoring mechanisms in all of Chiang Rai’s 18 districts. Local officials have now been told to start pressuring people who are burning forest to clear areas for farming. With a tougher stance, officials believe they will be able to ease Chiang Rai’s smog problems within days.

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