Air pollution problems in Thailand

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Gaybutton » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:23 am

Haze causes thousands to fall ill in North

by Dumrongkiat Mala

April 8, 2019

CHIANG MAI - More than 8,600 residents in northern Thailand have sought treatment for haze-related respiratory illnesses since January, according to the National Health Security Office (NHSO).

Since February, air concentrations of PM2.5 pollutants in the northern provinces have soared beyond the safe threshold set by the government and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Recently, PM2.5 levels in Chiang Mai's Mae Taeng district reached an alarming level of 492.57 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), 10 times the safe limit imposed in Thailand and 20 times the safe limit of the WHO.

In Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, the PM2.5 level has remained above 100µg/m³ metre since March 13.

Yesterday, the PM2.5 average in nine northern provinces was between 47 and 123µg/m³ in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phrae, Phayao and Tak. The highest level was reported in tambon Jong Kham of Muang district, Mae Hong Son, according to the Pollution Control Department.

The department sets 50µg/m³ as Thailand's safe level, while WHO's limit is 25µg/m³.

Crop burning during the dry season has been blamed for the poor air quality, but the smog has also been exacerbated by urban and industrial expansions and the rising numbers of vehicles on the roads.

NHSO deputy secretary-general Dr Atthaporn Limpanyalert said the number of people seeking treatment for haze-related respiratory conditions in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces has significantly increased over the last three months.

"The most vulnerable groups are patients with heart, lung and respiratory diseases and allergies. The haze can aggravate these conditions," he said.

Dr Atthaporn suggested residents in areas with high air pollution wear the N95 face masks designed to keep out fine particles while outdoors and stay indoors as much as possible.

"PM2.5 is harmful because it's a very fine dust particle, small enough to pass through to the lungs and enter the bloodstream. Protracted exposure can cause respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke," he said.

Dr Atthaporn and a group of NHSO officials on Friday visited communities in Chiang Mai's Doi Saket district to observe the problem, distribute N95 masks to residents and educate them on how to wear the masks properly.

Chitipon Sarnpang, mayor of Choeng municipality, said communities in the Choeng Doi area now need around 5,000 masks for their residents and would welcome donations as the smog situation is causing a shortage of N95 masks in the area.

"We have set up a health volunteer group to conduct checks on residents to guard them against potential health hazards associated with the haze," he said.

"Additional water spraying equipment has also been installed in many spots, but we still need more masks."

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... l-in-north
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Haze-hit northerners feel the pinch, poll shows

April 08, 2019

By The Nation

People in the North are burdened by additional costs to cope with the ongoing haze crisis even as more forest fires erupted in some areas yesterday.

A Nida Poll survey of 1,253 respondents who lived in nine northern provinces and encountered the haze on April 4 to 5, found that nearly 57 per cent of them had to bear additional costs to protect themselves from the pollution. It was not revealed how much more they had to spend. About 43.10 percent said they did not have to spend anything extra to take care of themselves. The poll also found that 36.47 per cent of the respondents said they were seriously affected by the problem, while only 9.26 per cent said they were unaffected.

About 60 per cent said they were allergic to the haze, with some |suffering from colds and runny nose, while 49.34 per cent said they faced respiratory difficulties. About 48 per cent said they had sore eyes.

Nearly 84 per cent said they had used facemasks to protect |themselves and 29 per cent said they preferred to stay at home.

The Pollution Control Department yesterday tried to downplay the |situation while forest fires still erupted in several areas.

PCD director-general Pralong Damrongthai said that as of 9am |yesterday, the concentration of fine dust particles – PM 2.5 – had reduced in several areas compared to the previous day. The overall air quality had improved to moderately fine to health-affecting. Three areas in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai were severely affected by the haze during the past weeks and were identified as the most dangerous for health. The |concentration of PM 2.5 microns in 24 hours were measured at 47 to 123 micrograms per cubic metre, still exceeding the safety limit of 50mcg.

The department asked for cooperation from local residents to desist from setting fires in their localities. Those prone to health problems should avoid exposure to pollution and outdoor activities, he warned.

From Chiang Rai to Mae Hong Son, new forest fires still erupted along the mountain ridges bordering Thailand and Myanmar and parts of Laos.

Officials and volunteers faced difficulties reaching the sites and dousing the fires due to the steep slopes. In mountainous Mae Hong Son, as many as 128 hotspots were still detected.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30367327

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Bob » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:18 pm

Smog has actually improved a little in Chiangmai the last couple of days. Down to an "unhealthy" level of 165 (dangerous but better than having it at the "damn near lethal" level).

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Jun » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:25 pm

Now we have the London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone). This means more polluting vehicles will be charged extra for driving in the centre of London. This is in addition to the congestion charge which has been in place for some years. The ULEZ will be extended to cover a larger area within a couple of years.
For example, if I were to drive my vehicle into central London, it would cost £12.50 for the ULEZ charge plus £11.50 for the congestion charge. Total £24. Plus the fuel for getting there and back, probably about £12. Also the parking.
My most recent trip there by train cost £10.70. Parking near local train station free. Fuel for driving to train station probably about £3.

The train is also much less stressful. This is one of the very few areas where I think tax rises are a very good thing.

The Thai government should do something similar. Parts of Bangkok are at near gridlock at busy times and all those polluting vehicles sitting there creating pollution and going nowhere is insane.

All the money raised from such charges should be put into public transport. With intelligent capital allocation, so not just some attempt to pour as much concrete as possible, but transport that is quick & friendly to use, with carefully designed intersections, ONE swipe card and more trains to reduce overcrowding.

There seems to be some level of political consensus on the London scheme, since it was announced by the former Conservative mayor and his Labour successor expanded and accelerated the policy. Despite Thailand having a far worse problem, is this kind of solution even being evaluated ?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47815117

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Gaybutton » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:16 pm

Jun wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:25 pm
Despite Thailand having a far worse problem, is this kind of solution even being evaluated ?
My guess is things like that do get evaluated - provided it furnishes a means of lining the pockets of the right people . . .

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Jun » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:07 am

Gaybutton wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:16 pm
My guess is things like that do get evaluated - provided it furnishes a means of lining the pockets of the right people . . .
The right people are probably also having their lungs lined with all the pollution. Undoubtedly it will cause a few illnesses, so perhaps it just needs a few of the decision makers to keel over. If they are too dumb to see the consequences before that.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Bangkokian » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:26 pm

We've just returned to Bangkok from the first two Songkran days in Chiang Mai.
In the town there was no sign of pollution and few people wearing masks.
Looking towards the mountains, they did look misty in the far distance.
We went to the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens and at the entrance I was trying to see if there was dual pricing -- only to be told by the cashier lady "oh, you two can go in free --- you are so old".

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