Haze in Northern Thailand making air unbreathable

The Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment has informed the Cabinet of the smog problem in eight northern provinces—five of which had been affected more seriously by smog while the situation had improved in three other provinces.

The ministry was keeping a close watch on Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phrae, Nan and Mae Hong Son where smog was mainly caused by burning of agricultural residues, said the minister.

In Chiang Mai, thick dust and smoke particles blanketed the provincial capital, making Doi Suthep invisible from the town.

In nearby Phrae province, haze from forest fires which started to cause problems late last month has become more serious.  The dust particle level in the provincial town this morning was reported at 215 microgrammes per cubic metre.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha therefore instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to talk to farmers in such provinces and take care of the local people’s health. Forest firefighters were assigned to closely monitor burning areas.

Spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office Yongyut Maiyalarp said the Cabinet on Tuesday was informed of a forecast of heavy rains for 4-7 March 2015.

The Cabinet therefore called on relevant government units to warn people in the northeastern and eastern regions of heavy rains and gusts caused by a low-pressure system from China.

The provincial offices of disaster prevention and mitigation in 25 northern and northeastern provinces were told to prepare preventive measures.

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