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Smoke, Smog, Dust 2012 Chiang Mai


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Haze pollution remains in North

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CHIANG MAI, Feb 18 - Thailand's northern provinces of Chiang Mai remained covered by haze pollution while concerned agencies planned to use artificial rain to abate particulate dust particles, which are rising above safe levels.

Chiang Mai governor Panadda Disakul said haze pollution blanketed the province for a second day and that he has instructed district chiefs to impose strict measures against those lighting fires in farm and forest areas.

The governor however conceded that it was difficult to control the situation, which has enveloped the northern region, with several provinces facing levels of dust particles rising over all safe levels.

Mr Panadda said a meeting of concerned agencies will be held this week to jointly find an overall solution and to seek cooperation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to use artificial rains to solve the problem.

If the situation worsens, the governor said, C-130 transport aircraft will be used to spray water over the skies of Chiang Mai provincial seat.

On Saturday, dust particles were measured at 179.16 microns at Chiang Mai City Hall.

Local residents began wearing surgical masks in an attempt to avoid eye and nose irritation.

Haze pollution remained critical in Lampang province on Saturday despite rain yesterday evening.

Dust levels at the city pillar shrine was measured on Saturday at 235.33 micrograms per cubic metre.

Chamnong Boonsil, Protected Area Regional Office 13 Lampang Branch, said smog at the city shrine is higher than other areas as it is located in an enclosed area, near a garbage dump and surrounded by construction sites.

Other areas - particularly Mae Mo district - which are covered by smog, but at less critical level than near the city pillar shrine, were believed to be caused by slash and burn farming. (MCOT online news)

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-- TNA 2012-02-18

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I visited Chiang Mai a few months back. What a lovely spot. Just yesterday I gave serious thought to moving there and leaving BKK. Now I realize that living on floor 30, right on the river...is actually a healthier choice!

Until I read this, i did not even connect the dots, that when i returned from CNX to BKK I ended up at the hospital with a really nasty chest infection.

Mystery Solved.

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8 Northern provinces see higher level of dust

PHRAE, 18 February 2012 (NNT) – Forest fires and slash and burn agriculture are causing environmental problems in the North where eight provinces are experiencing a higher level of dust.

According to the Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment in Phrae, the amount of dust particles smaller than 10 microns is measured between 83 and 192 microgram per cubic meter, which is considered to be moderately high to health-affecting.

Dust levels in Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Chiang Rai, and Phayao are above the standard level. Officials are calling on the public not to do slash and burn agriculture, burn garbage and clear forest areas with a fire. Forest fire control areas have been designated to alleviate the problem.

The situation is most worrying in Lampang where the phenomenon has come earlier than previous years. The smoke there is reported to be very thick and the dust level is higher than previous years.

In Chiang Mai, the dust level is also climbing. The governor has instructed local administrative offices to discuss measures to control the dust level. He has also asked the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the navy to help with the rain-making operation at areas with critically thick smoke.

In Mae Hong Son, officials have also urged the locals to protect themselves from the dust when leaving their houses. The dust was reported to have caused Nok Air to halt its flights by one hour yesterday.

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-- NNT 2012-02-18 footer_n.gif

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I was out at my house in mae on this week in the mountains,and there was allot of fires up there,my wife says its some of the local people,they set the fires so that when the rains come the mushrooms come out,she also called them stupid for doing it,and shes one of the local people.Theres also allot of small fires along the sides of the roads, usually caused by cigarettes being thrown out of cars.But the local government here in chaing mai says its not Forrest fires but an ozone problem,I sometimes wonder what drugs these people are on who put theses reports out ,they must think the whole general public are completely stupid,all you have to do is drive 30 mins anyway out of the city and you will see something burning.Anyway the next report will be the usual shift the blame,and say the smokes coming from Burma,you bad burmese fire starters.

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Anyway the next report will be the usual shift the blame,and say the smokes coming from Burma,you bad burmese fire starters.

If you look at the firemap above you'll see that is part of the probrlem!

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This happens every year just before the beginning of the rainy season because the people living in the mountains start burning the forrest because it stimulates wild mushrooms and other edibles It should be illegal, and may well be, but you cannot stop an old bad habbit. Its best to not exercise in such conditions and stay indoors where there is some filtration by air conditioning.

Smartest post yet...and when you ask why the .... would you burn half the mountain?? You get a giggle and a "Head Lam Tae Tae or Head Aroi Mak Mak" and of course another giggle?!

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If the Chinese are buring off and adding to the bad air quality of their neighbors they won't give a tos. Beijing's air quality is worse than any of the pictures I've see on TV and it is a year round problem, day after day after day. Good luck changing the behavior of the farmers when the politicians couldn't care less about the problem.

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I'm here after a few years of living in Seoul ,Korea and frankly am relieved if this is as bad as it gets. In Korea we have "Yellow Dust" which blows in from the gobi desert and very quickly creates serious health problems. They've tried, with little luck, to plant trees to block some of this but in the end we just have to live with it until the season is over.

How much worse does the smoke get here? I've been out on my bike all week without much problems beyond a little sore throat. But then I'm used to always wearing a mask when riding so maybe that helps.

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I'm here after a few years of living in Seoul ,Korea and frankly am relieved if this is as bad as it gets. In Korea we have "Yellow Dust" which blows in from the gobi desert and very quickly creates serious health problems. They've tried, with little luck, to plant trees to block some of this but in the end we just have to live with it until the season is over.

How much worse does the smoke get here? I've been out on my bike all week without much problems beyond a little sore throat. But then I'm used to always wearing a mask when riding so maybe that helps.

The gobi desert dust is a natural phenomenon. But the northern Thai and Burmese forest fires are caused by human destructiveness. Here the forest fires are set on purpose by people and it is not merely a bit of "slash and burn", I was alarmed by the size of them the first time I saw them at close range.

Edited by xavierr
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99.9 % of the fires in northern Australia would be wildfires in uninhabited terrain started by lightning strikes

and nothing to do with ground clearing techniques.

..is the wrong answer - http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/publications/biomass.html

Looks like the Aussies do similar to the Thai's/Asians

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What happens when the burning season is over? Would there not be tiny, microscopic particulates on the ground, that would get stirred upward by the movement of vehicles and people?

Perhaps the rest of the year it seems nice, and there are no physical symptoms, but would we not continue to ingest these particles, which could produce a negative outcome for health, albeit at a slower pace?

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Does anyone know whether Nan is just as smoky as Chiang Mai right now?

These are the numbers from the aqmthai.com website. PM10 in red (ug/m)^3.

a67. Municipality Nan. 2012-02-17. 8:00:00. 0.9. 9.0. 14.0. 02.01. 92.92.

Chiang Mai is current at: Quite a bump from earlier today. Appears the Nam station is not updated as often so it could be close to the CM numbers by now.

35t. City Hall. 2012-02-17. 16:00:00. 2.0. 43.2. 55.7. 0.3. 123.45.

thank you sir.jap.gif

Im heading to the islands

Cough, huff huff, cough.... think I'll join you.... Don't think I've ever seen it this bad except for Pai, Mae Hong Son, Phrao (maybe) and Lampang (all worse - but not by much). A young baby across the street has been affected, 4 elders (over 70) have been affected in the past 3 days. <deleted>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????

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Are you kidding ... I am living here for 5 years now and the burning keeps starting earlier and earlier every year ... Hell, it started in October 2011 here in Cm as soon as the flooding was over and there was no more rain .... not as bad as it is now but started then in any case.... previous years started only in Feb / March then became Nov , then became Nov/ Dec and now this year started in Oct and has now escalated till now and in a furious unseen way ... have not seen in 5 years the likes of it for the past 2 weeks ... it is in fact scary....!! I have guests here right now from Canada and they are just hacking away and find it so difficult to breathe to the point where I had to go out and buy Inhalers for them .... It is really bad !!!

First burn season in Chaing Mai and today is the first time I've seen it like this. Is THIS what it's like through the whole burn season, or is today worse than normal?

Also, where are you guys getting the satellite burn images?

Why didn't you tell your guests to come some other time? Everyone who lives here knows that the end of February and all of March are the worst times.

This is the high season when the weather is supposed to be at it's best! The Ministry of Tourism should get involved or else they could be faced with their worst nightmare.... a fall in visitor numbers.

Edited by bigbamboo
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This happens every year just before the beginning of the rainy season because the people living in the mountains start burning the forrest because it stimulates wild mushrooms and other edibles It should be illegal, and may well be, but you cannot stop an old bad habbit. Its best to not exercise in such conditions and stay indoors where there is some filtration by air conditioning.

Every year, every room our house(s) that is (are) being used by living creatures or humans has air filter (or filters) running full blast 8 - 12 hours a day for the duration of the "smoke season"..... sad.

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