19 May 2024

Forest fires and illegal burning of farm waste by villagers have worsened air pollution in 17 of Thailand’s northern provinces, especially in Jongkham sub-district of Mae Hong Son, where PM2.5 was measured at 267 microns on Tuesday. This is five times higher than the safety level.

According to the Pollution Control Department, the amount of PM10 dust in Jongkham sub-district is also at health-threatening levels, measured at 285 microns.

Other areas, where PM2.5 particulate matter is excessively high, include:

  • Sriphum sub-district in Muang district of Chiang Mai
  • Phra Baat sub-district in Muang district of Lampang
  • Ban Dong sub-district in Mae Moh district of Lampang
  • Wiang sub-district in Muang district of Chiang Rai
  • Ban Klang sub-district in Muang district of Lamphun
  • Ban Tom sub-district in Muang district of Phayao
  • Wiang Pangkham sub-district in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai
  • Huay Gone sub-district in Chalerm Phrakiart district of Nan
  • Mae Pa sub-district in Mae Sot district of Tak
  • Suthep sub-district in Muang district of Chiang Mai

Tunya Netithammakul, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, disclosed that 6,199 hotspots were detected in Mae Hong Son on Monday, resulting in dust particles in the atmosphere being measured at over 300 microns in several areas.

He said that 15 forest fire-fighting teams, comprised of 225 men, have been helping hundreds of volunteers to combat the forest fires.

Between January 1st and March 7th, a total of 40,669 hotspots have been recorded and many of them have been extinguished. 1,505 hotspots were reported yesterday (Monday), with 418 in Mae Hong Son alone.