North hopes to be haze-free by month’s end

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



More than 21,000 suffer health effects

THE HAZE problem in the North is expected to disappear by the end of this month, as the number of hotspots in the region has dropped significantly.

“The farming season starts next month, so farmers who wish to clear their plots using fire must have done so already,” Pollution Control Department (PCD) director general Wijarn Simachaya said yesterday.

Haze has posed a serious problem of air pollution in the North. As of yesterday, the amount of small dust particles measuring less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) had gone beyond the safe limit of 120 micrograms per cubic metre of air in at least four spots.

The hardest hit was Chiang Mai‘s Mae Chaem district, where the PM10 amount soared to 171mcg per cubic metre of air.

Mae Chaem district chief Tosapol Phuanudom admitted that agricultural fires had indeed been a major cause of air pollution.

“Local farmers have no other choice. They need to prepare their farms ahead of the rainy season,” he said. “But I can tell you that they have already cleared most of their land, which means there will soon be no more hotspots in the area.”

Farmers in the North have lit so many agricultural fires over the past several days because the 60-day ban on such fires was just lifted. They had to act fast because the farming season begins next month.

“Today, there were just a little over 10 hotspots in Mae Chaem,” Tosapol said.

However, due to the agricultural fires, the air quality dropped not just in Mae Chaem district but also in Chiang Mai town.

Yesterday, air-quality tests showed that the amount of PM10 particles in Chiang Mai‘s Muang district ranged between 126mcg and 146mcg per cubic metre of air.

The Public Health Ministry has learned that 21,891 residents have come down with systems related to haze, with symptoms such as eye irritation, difficulty in breathing, nausea, irregular heartbeat, headache, cough and eye inflammation.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said people with chronic illnesses, young kids, pregnant women and the elderly had a higher risk of suffering health problems from smog.

Relevant authorities have handed out 200,000 facial masks to residents in haze-affected provinces in a move to reduce the health impact on people.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha will visit Chiang Mai next Wednesday to follow up on anti-smog efforts.

Wijarn said most areas in the North should be smog free from next month onwards with the exception of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district because it sits next to Myanmar and is usually affected by agricultural fires from the neighbouring country.

Neighbouring countries to get devices to check air-quality

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


After installing device in laos, thailand plans to also include Myanmar, Cambodia

THAILAND HAS installed devices for air-quality checks in Laos, and will make similar installations in Myanmar and Cambodia in a bid to fight the threat of smog.

Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Wijarn Simachaya disclosed yesterday that the installation in Vientiane had already been completed.

“Next year, we will install similar devices in the two other neighbouring countries,” he said.

Because wind can blow unhealthy smoke from one country to another, smog has been a shared threat in the region. Hotpots in nearby countries can affect Thailand. “We have already written to the Asean secretary-general, asking for help in getting Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia to reduce their hotpots,” Wijarn said.


Agricultural fires are widely blamed for the worsening haze problem in the Asean region. As of Tuesday night, the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre has reported scattered hotspots in Myanmar and isolated hotspots in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.

Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Mongkhon Suksai said that as long as neighbouring countries were full of hotspots, Thailand would be affected. “Cross-border smog means that even if there is not a single hotspot in Thailand, many Thai provinces will still struggle with the haze,” he said. A smog crisis threatens people’s health and also economy. Reduced visibility affects travelling, sometimes causing flight cancellations. Many northern provinces of Thailand are popular destinations for tourists, and tourism generates a sizeable income for the locals.

Since late 2015, government agencies, local administrative bodies, people and the private sector have joined hands in tackling the smog problem. They have embraced the so-called Mae Chaem model, as efforts in Chiang Mai‘s Mae Chaem district have proved effective in significantly curbing smog-causing hotspots. During the recent 60-day ban on agricultural fires in the country’s North, the number of hotspots in Mae Chaem reduced by more than 80 per cent. This is even though most of Mae Chaem’s area are corn plantations. Local farmers usually rely on fires to clear land for farming.

At present, local authorities have allowed local farmers to light fires zone by zone, based on the wind direction, to ensure that hotspots will have a minimum impact.

Air-quality tests showed the amount of small dust particles measuring no more than 10 microns diameter (PM10) peaked in Mae Chaem district – reaching 192 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

However, the situation has improved as test results showed air pollution has eased in Upper North and the overall situation is better than last year, Athapol Charoenshunsa, who heads the Forest Protection and Fire Control Bureau, said.

He added that the number of hotspots in the zone had reduced from 27,000 in the first three months of 2015 to just 25,000 between January and yesterday this year.


Smog causing health woes for thousands in Chiang Mai

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THOUSANDS of people in Chiang Mai province have developed symptoms this month that can be linked to air pollution.

Air-quality tests yesterday also confirmed that pollutants in the northern province had hit unhealthy levels.

Conducted by the Chiang Mai University, the tests showed the amount of small dust particles measuring less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) had gone past the safe limit of 120 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

Tests conducted at four spots reported the PM10 amount ranging between 131 and 163 cubic metres of air. Smog was clearly visible again |yesterday.

Authorities have now asked people to wear facial masks while going outdoors.


From April 3 to 9, a disease-control office found 447 patients had inflamed eyes, while 8,747 had heart or blood-|vessel problems, 4,638 had respiratory disorders, and 539 had skin issues.


3 provinces in the North still suffer haze

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Particulate matter in the air in the northern provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and Phayao rose beyond safety levels again yesterday morning with figures standing at 152 micrograms, 138 to 182mcg, and 128mcg respectively.

Particulate matter in downtown Chiang Mai was reported at 118mcg early yesterday – a drop from the predawn figure of 149mcg – while the level of particulate matter in Chiang Dao district was reportedly 349mcg at 8am after which it lowered drastically.

Chiang Mai University academic Sutthinee Dontri, who has been researching forest-fire management, said controlled burns to mitigate forest fires had yielded good results in reducing hotspots in Chiang Mai‘s Chom Thong and Mae Chaem districts.

She said the number of hotspots and resulting particulate matter in the air were lower than last year thanks to the strict implementation of measures, particularly “beforehand burning”.

She said authorities should continue monitoring haze levels because people were still starting forest fires to clear land, while winds brought in smoke from neighbouring countries during this period.

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.

Haze crisis soars in Chiang Rai

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Air hazard levels in Chiang Rai have risen to nearly 300 micrograms of pollutants per cubic metre, the worst in the country so far this year, which has caused thousands of haze-affected residents to seek medical treatment.

As forest fires continue to occur in the far North, the border district of Mae Sai had 200 micrograms of pollutants per cubic metre, while Muang district was at 182 as of 3pm yesterday, according to the Pollution Control Department.

Other provinces with hazardous pollution levels included Mae Hong Son at 191 mcg, Phrae at 150, Phayao at 139 and Lampang’s Mae Mo district at 136.

Smog levels start to climb in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


A plane is about to take off at Chiang Mai International Airport yesterday. Though the tiny particle dust readings in this northern province have gone slightly beyond safety levels, it is not affecting aviation visibility.

A plane is about to take off at Chiang Mai International Airport yesterday. Though the tiny particle dust readings in this northern province have gone slightly beyond safety levels, it is not affecting aviation visibility.

THE AMOUNT of small particulate matter of up to 10 microns in diameter (PM10) in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces has gone beyond safety levels for two consecutive days, while the readings in other provinces in the North remained within the safe level of 120 micrograms per cubic metre.

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) yesterday said the Chiang Mai smog situation with PM10 readings averaging at 63-68 micrograms has not had a negative effect on local peoples’ health, even though yesterday’s readings peaked at 149 micrograms in Chiang Dao district following a reading of 184 micrograms on Tuesday.

The PCD admitted that the smog might affect visibility slightly as the tips of Doi Suthep and Doi Kham are not clear, while Chiang Mai Airport is partially covered.

Chiang Rai’s Muang district reported a PM10 reading of 115mcg yesterday, which is within the safety level though it might affect visibility slightly. Mae Sai district’s Tambon Wiang Phang Kham reported 181mcg, the highest point so far and could possibly affect people’s health; while Wiang Phang Kham reported 150mcg on Tuesday.

Air quality in Mae Sai district has been exceeding the safety level since Saturday, according to the PCD app, while Chiang Rai has reportedly detected three to seven hotspots per day.

Amnat Jermlae, director of the Chiang Rai Office for Natural Resources and Environment, said that he has prepared manpower to tackle forest-fire and smog issues, including dispatching surveillance teams at least three times a week during the 60-day ban on outdoor fires from February 17 to April 16.

For other provinces in the North, the quality of air was at the medium level, with PM10 readings in Phrae at 107mcg, Phayao at 103mcg, Lampang at 102mcg, while readings in Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan and Tak averaged at 96 to 72mcg.

Officials also campaigned for the |public to use other methods to dispose of farm waste, such as turning them into fertiliser.

Phuket company owner claims DSI being unfair in land probe

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The owner of Six Mountains Co Ltd yesterday called on the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to look into his adversary’ land ownership documents in Koh Nakha Moo 5 in Phuket’s Thalang district.

Chanwit Kijlertsiriwattana claimed his company was being singled out by the DSI in its investigation over the Hiranpruk family’s allegations that his firm had used illegitimate land-rights documents to occupy three plots in the area. He also presented related papers to explain himself.

Chanwit said he had paid Bt42 million for the 24-rai plots and hence became one of the three or four landlords in the area. Therefore, he said, the Hiranpruk family’s claim of being the area’s sole concessionaire was untrue. He denied he had encroached on forestland, claiming the area wasn’t forested and had been occupied since 1962.

However the DSI’s environment case office chief, Prawut Wongsinil, said investigation initially found that the land-rights document in question might have been illegitimately issued using the Sor Khor 1 land documents meant for other plots. He said the DSI found that the plots’ territories were suspiciously expanded from what was stated in the Sor Khor 1 and the Nor Sor 3 Kor forms before the plots were resold to Six Mountains. He said the DSI was considering taking up this case officially.

Meanwhile, a combined team of police and administrative officials used backhoes to demolish a hotel in Phang Nga’s Ta Kua Pa district yesterday, as it was deemed to have been constructed on public land without permission.


However, the building’s owner Sitthichai Boonyasit filed a complaint with the Tambon Khuekkhak head, saying this had been done using “double standards” because shops and buildings nearby, which were also located on public land for two years, had not been torn down.

The demolition – for which Sitthichai would be charged later—would be completed in seven days, Tambon Khuekkhak deputy clerk Sukkasem Sombat said.

Sitthichai was told to tear the structure down by February 15, and his appeal to the Administrative Court was dismissed, while the Supreme Court ruled the area a public land, he said.


Lamphun pollution levels unsafe for past week

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


The northern province of Lamphun’s tiny particle dust reading has exceeded safety levels for seven days now, an informed source said yesterday

State agencies were thus told to seriously implement the northern region’s 60-day outdoor burning ban while members of the public were to alert authorities of forest fires via the 191 hotline.

From February 8-16, Lamphun reported 47 hotspots and its reading of small particle matter of up to 10 microns in diameter (PM10) was at 124 micrograms per cubic metre yesterday, which was slightly above the safety level of 120 and could affect local people’s health. Governor Narong Onsa-art had officials implement measures including having water trucks spraying three times a day and having a 25-strong team at each village ready to tackle fire and smog. The province and its allies also built extensive firebreaks, while telling farmers to bury or turn agricultural waste into fertiliser, animal food or fuel for power plants.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai‘s PM10 level was in the safe level – being 93-96 micrograms and there were only six hot spots – thanks to serious implementation of the outdoor burning ban, said Phasit Seuksanapapat of the provincial natural resources and environment office. He said almost 100 percent of forest fires are caused by outdoor burning by villagers and officials must urgently make people understand this.

The ban which started since February 16 in Chiang Mai would punish those caught burning outdoors with fines up to Bt5,000.