Haze from Indonesia’s forest fires spreads into Trang province

Haze, caused by Indonesia’s forest fires, has spread to Trang, another southern Thai province on the western coast, prompting provincial authorities to warn people in the province to wear face masks when leaving their homes and to avoid out-door activities if possible.

Provincial governor Mr. Luechai Charoensap and the city mayor Mr. Apichit Wenothai this morning (Monday) distributed 3,000 face masks to school children at two municipal schools.

He said that air quality in the province has worsened due to the haze, which is now posing a health threat to the people, especially children, pregnant women, elderly people and those with respiratory problems and allergies.

However, he noted that the problem in Trang is not as bad as that in the other southern provinces, such as Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat and Phuket because of the rain, which has provided temporary relief.

According to the Air Visual website today, US AQI (air quality index) today there is a high amount of fine particulate matter in the air in southern Thailand.

  • 151 in Songkhla
  • 163 in Pattani
  • 116 in Narathiwat
  • 148 in Phuket

Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, was measured at 154.

An AQI of 101-150 means air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and 151-200 means air quality is unhealthy for the general population.

The Pollution Control Department, meanwhile, reported this morning that the amount of 2.5 micron particulate matter in southern Thailand at 9am averaged 18-70 microgram/cubic metre, against the standard level of 50 microgram/cubic metre, over the last 24 hours.

In his Facebook post today, Dr. Supat Hasuwankit, a doctor at Chana district hospital in Songkhla province, accused certain companies, which invested in oil palm plantations in Indonesia, as being among the real culprits responsible for forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan islands in Indonesia. He claimed they use poor local people as their tool to encroach into the forest as the first step, then wait for the arrival of the dry season to set the forests on fire and then ask for the Indonesian government’s permission to use the land for their palm oil plantations.


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