6 June 2024

Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai is likely to face health-threatening haze problems from
PM2.5 dust particles until early May, or the arrival of the rainy season, due to uncontrolled burning of
vegetation waste and forest fires, said Associate Professor Seth Sampattakul, chief of the Climate
Change Centre at Chiang Mai University, on Friday.

The level of PM2.5 in most parts of Chiang Mai remains above the standard level of 50 microns on a
continuous basis, especially in Samoeng district where the level of PM2.5 dust particles was recently
measured at over 500 microns, which poses serious health threat.

Seth said, although authorities have tried to fight forest fires and control the burning of vegetation, the
haze problem persists and is worsening, ahead of the Songkran holiday, as farmers step up burning of
farm waste to prepare their land for the next cultivation.

Earlier, Chiang Mai Governor Supachai Iamsuwan admitted that he could not declare the province a
disaster zone due to technical problem. He explained that, by declaring a disaster zone, the provincial
administration would have to utilize emergency budget, but it is unable to do this because of Finance
Ministry regulations.

He said all he can do is to instruct local administrators to make use of their own budgets to deal with the
problem.

The governor has come under heavy criticism for his failure to tackle the worsening haze problem after
the level of PM2.5 dust particles in the province broke world records for several days.