Thailand: Southern haze hits this year's worst

forest fire ind
A forest fire in Indonesia. Air pollution caused by forest fires from Indonesia has affected southern Thailand due to the wind direction. Image: CIFOR, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Regional Environmental Office are advising people in the southern provinces to take extra precautions with their health, as the Indonesian wildfire haze has caused air quality to deteriorate to the worst level recorded this year. 

The Regional Environmental Office 16 (REO 16) in Songkhla has announced the air quality index of Sunday afternoon, with hourly particulate matter (PM10) values recorded in the southern provinces exceeding the standard value. 

Hat Yai District’s PM10 value was recorded at 215, with a 24-hour average mean of 119 micrograms per cubic meter, while PM10 values in Yala today reached 246 microgram per cubic meter. Healthy standards suggest this value should not exceed 120. 

The REO 16 Director Halem J.Marigan said that the current air pollution levels was the result of the wind direction and low pressure area, preventing the haze to float away to the atmosphere. Related agencies have been appointed to notify the public on the air quality, which is reaching dangerous levels. 

The current haze situation still has not affected aviation, but reports from hospitals have shown an increase in child patients with respiratory system related symptoms. The general public in the affected areas are advised to start to wear sanitary masks, as concentrated haze will begin to affect respiration and may cause irritation.

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