Dense toxic bubble – smog in northern Thailand: thousands in hospitals


Large parts of northern Thailand have been covered in a thick layer of toxic smog for days. The result: numerous people suffer from health problems and thousands have already had to be treated in hospitals.

The provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, which are popular with tourists, are particularly affected. In the past week, more than 3,400 people have visited hospitals in Chiang Rai alone to be treated for breathing difficulties and sore throats, Thai broadcaster PBS World reported Tuesday.

“Mae Sai village is shrouded in such a thick haze that buildings can only be seen from a very short distance,” it said. Civil society and the business community have urged the provincial governor to declare the community a disaster area. However, he initially rejected the move.

High levels of particulate matter from slash-and-burn clearing
The reason for the extreme air pollution is slash and burn in Thailand, but also in neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. At the end of the dry season, farmers burn their fields to rid them of undergrowth and weeds. That is why there are often high levels of particulate matter between January and March. Chiang Rai is located on the Golden Triangle in the border area with Laos and Myanmar.

Because there is no wind, the smog does not go away
In addition, there is currently no wind in northern Thailand, so the smog cannot disappear, the Bangkok Post newspaper quoted the director-general of the Office for Pollution Control as saying. The situation is expected to remain serious until next week.

At the beginning of March, there was already heavy smog in large parts of Thailand. The capital Bangkok was also hit hard. The air quality there is now back within normal range.

Source: Krone


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