11 July 2024

Voting in many northern provinces in Thailand today will be remembered for another reason – haze that is forcing people to leave home for polling stations with masks.

Forest fires have been causing haze in at least 14 northern provinces, resulting in deteriorating air quality. At least three flights due to land at Chiang Mai airport were forced to turn back yesterday.

Pollution Control Department measurements of air quality yesterday showed that airborne PM2.5 dust particles range from 77 microns in Tambon Mae Pa, in the Mae Sot district of Tak province, to 211 microns in Tambon Wiang Pang Kham in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.

Some of the highest readings include:

  • 178 microns in Tambon Jong Kham, Muang district, Mae Hong Son
  • 178 microns in Tambon Chang Phuek, Muang district of Chiang Mai
  • 151 microns in Tambon Ban Tom in Muang district of Phayao
  • 152 microns in Tambon Sriphon, Muang district of Chiang Mai
  • 131 microns in Tambon Wiang, Muang district of Chiang Rai

The levels of PM10 particles in the same 14 provinces are also high, ranging between 101 and 260 microns against the standard level of 100.  Air quality readings are as follows:

  • 263 microns in Tambon Wiang Pang Kham in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai
  • 216 microns in Tambon Chang Phuek, Muang district of Chiang Mai
  • 195 microns in Tambon Jong Kham in Muang district of Mae Hong Son

The Pollution Control Department is urging members of the public who experience coughing, difficulty in breathing, dizziness or chest pains to see a doctor immediately.