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Smoke, Smog, Dust 2013 Chiang Mai

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From the Doi Suthep temple at around 1 pm the city was very obviously under a haze, so pollution is back.

I can't breathe, I'm choking and it's only October, what can I do, evacuate, evacuate!

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From the Doi Suthep temple at around 1 pm the city was very obviously under a haze, so pollution is back.

I can't breathe, I'm choking and it's only October, what can I do, evacuate, evacuate!

Climb a hill ... !

Its an inversion layer trapping smog in the CNX valley. Bugger all smoke reaching ground level ... [other than ganja from next door]!

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From the Doi Suthep temple at around 1 pm the city was very obviously under a haze, so pollution is back.

I can't breathe, I'm choking and it's only October, what can I do, evacuate, evacuate!

Climb a hill ... !

Its an inversion layer trapping smog in the CNX valley. Bugger all smoke reaching ground level ... [other than ganja from next door]!

Is the correct answer :)

I was making light of of the earlier scaremongering, in case not clear to all.

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That's not water vapor in the air, friends. It is smoke full of PM<10 pollution.

In the past two days I have seen agricultural burning north and west of Chiang Mai. That has included rice straw as well as orchard pruning and brush clearance plus some incidental "neighbor" yard fires. I have passed numerous dry corn crops (the market price is way down this year) which will most likely be burned since corn "straw" is really useless except as poor fodder of practically no nutrient value.

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That's not water vapor in the air, friends. It is smoke full of PM<10 pollution.

In the past two days I have seen agricultural burning north and west of Chiang Mai. That has included rice straw as well as orchard pruning and brush clearance plus some incidental "neighbor" yard fires. I have passed numerous dry corn crops (the market price is way down this year) which will most likely be burned since corn "straw" is really useless except as poor fodder of practically no nutrient value.

It's true that there is a minor increase in haze, but it's all very low by any standard.

If this is the kind of level that is upsetting to people then they need to move to an island asap.

post-64232-0-33078800-1381856116_thumb.p

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That's not water vapor in the air, friends. It is smoke full of PM<10 pollution.

In the past two days I have seen agricultural burning north and west of Chiang Mai. That has included rice straw as well as orchard pruning and brush clearance plus some incidental "neighbor" yard fires. I have passed numerous dry corn crops (the market price is way down this year) which will most likely be burned since corn "straw" is really useless except as poor fodder of practically no nutrient value.

It's true that there is a minor increase in haze, but it's all very low by any standard.

If this is the kind of level that is upsetting to people then they need to move to an island asap.

attachicon.gif1.png

Where did you get your chart from?

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Data comes from the Pollution Control Department.

Site is at http://aqmthai.com/ , then click "Report" and enter some parameters: the measuring station, pullutant (select PM10), if you want real time or daily averages (best to pick the daily average) and then click Table or Graph.

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Viz the above post, tis true.

Here's an indirect source (as I am lazy this evening):

http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/70094

But what the heck! Some 200,000 deaths? Not a problem in the big picture, right? Not even half of the people who have died in Syria from recent arguments. So, la-di-da! On second thought, there are those who suffer other problems! Anyone suffering from asthma? Have a child that way?

The really nasty season (not just in Thailand but in adjacent heavy rice-producing regions for PM<10 and really damaging PM<2.5 pollution has been roughly from mid-February through mid-April. That traditional season might be extending due to Thai government policy to lesson the impact of "peaks" of air pollution by encouraging earlier burning of agricultural waste (basically rice straw)--- as soon as it is dry enough. In four of Thailand's northern provinces where the rice has been harvested this is a major consideration!

Before you get all upset by this seemingly short-sighted policy, consider the enormous socioeconomic problems complicating a solution in a primarily agricultural country that lead to such a "patently absurd" official partial solution. Also consider burning of agricultural waste in so-called economically-developed countries. Can you guess which ?

In the meantime, if you have the wherewithal, as at least one or a few popular TV Chiang Mai posters apparently have, you can take a vacation with the children by the sea when it gets really bad! Not everyone can.

Edited by Mapguy

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And you thought Chiang Mai has air pollution problems !

Read this article. It is about China, but reflect upon how economic goals and public health goals collide. The conflict has different dimensions in Thailand, but the underlying rationale of action (or lack of action) is the same.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/opinion/international/jokes-lies-and-pollution-in-china.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131029&tntemail0=y&_r=0

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Interesting topic... After having spent the summer in B.C (Canada) with clean mountain air, I noticed (barely) when I came back here after a couple of days, I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had a cigarette hangover.

You know what I'm talking about? Like you smoked too much the night before and awake with your lungs aching?

Anyhow, I've decided smoking cigarettes will help ease the pain. I have to build up a threshold right? Ha ha JK. I am trying to quit, and it hasn't been hard cutting down because my lungs are already sore.

Should I be wearing a mask all the time? Is there any way to get past this?

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Well, the sky isn't falling, but it is full of a lot of sh*t!

You will find a full range of opinions about how air pollution (in the case of Chiang Mai and surrounding rice-growing regions) affect them personally and how serious the overall problem is. In your case, I would suggest that smoking anything is generally more dangerous to your health, so all success in giving up your smoking habit. Regarding air pollution, the problem here is not nearly as severe generally as in some places, such as in industrial China, and the severe effects are seasonal, mid-February - mid-April, more or less. Happy to say, it is surmised, given the available data, that conditions are trending better over the past few years.

You will find remedies suggested on this forum like leaving Chiang Mai during the really nasty season. That's all well and good, if you have the wherewithal to do it. Some retirees here have that wherewithal as well s the freedom to pack a bag and go to where skies are clear. Fortunately, some of the nastiest days are experienced (depending upon the year) during school holidays, so --- with luck on picking the right days --- if you have a family, you can take the children to the beach, so to speak. But the huge bulk of Chiang Mai residents can't just pick up and go or afford to do it.

You will also find local "solutions" ranging from hospital masks to masks that come from Darth Vader's closet. As well, there are some effective air filters that can indeed eliminate most of the problem, if not all of it. But who stays trapped in one or two rooms for a month or so ?!

You will also find over the years on this forum many discussions about the source of air pollution, how well it is measured, and so on. Some of that is off the wall, but some of it is interesting. This discussion does help in understanding what is going on.

Chiang Mai is certainly not the only place in Thailand which experiences air pollution in a serious way, seasonal as it may be. It can be even worse in surrounding provinces and countries. You can check the various Thai official measuring stations which are reported on the Thai Pollution Control Department (PCD) web site. And some posters have provided access to some interesting (if somewhat fuzzy) fire maps.

One thing about the Thai PCD is that they can't do very much to make things better! They can measure the "stuff," to a degree (There are limited monitoring stations), they can investigate, they can issue warnings, they can advise but they have no authority to do anything about it! No, this is NOT a "This is Thailand" issue. The same problem, in various degree, is almost universally true. I recently learned that in one political area known as quite sensitive to environmental pollution issues of a very highly-developed rich country, that they are still experiencing seasonal agricultural burning of rice straw albeit "better regulated" than it used to be. I was astounded. Care to guess the place ?!

In life, one has obviously to make choices (You chose to smoke, for example; not all people suffer lung cancer), but collectively choices can affect others, sometimes quite seriously. I, for one, can't agree with the "I'm all right, Jack" crowd who, in the Chiang Mai case, for example, can buzz off without much sympathy for those who must remain in the area for economic reasons.

What can YOU do? Well, obviously personal behavior counts, but as expatriates there is limited impact possible in a complicated socioeconomic issue. It does help, however, to constructively report fires or criticize. Fires can be reported. Such reports very rarely result in ifire-fighters immediately visiting the scene, but you become part of a statistical picture that says, in effect, people are tired of this and want action. If you happen to have Thai neighbors, there are culturally appropriate ways to suggest that burning trash and waste are more than annoying. Remaining silent is probably the worst thing to do.

Anyway, welcome to Chiang Mai. Hope you don't drive an ill-tuned diesel-fueled truck!

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http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=2582

Ah, the annual "kick off" in Chiang Mai's efforts to eliminate air pollution! Or, as a cynic might say, another showy pseudo-effort --- this one including a stage show (!) that is nothing really more than kicking the can down the road.

What is needed to make measurable progress in substantially lessening or eliminating serious air pollution is indeed complicated and difficult, but this sort of official approach is really absurd. saai.gif

Edited by Mapguy

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Before you get all upset by this seemingly short-sighted policy, consider the enormous socioeconomic problems complicating a solution in a primarily agricultural country that lead to such a "patently absurd" official partial solution. Also consider burning of agricultural waste in so-called economically-developed countries. Can you guess which ?

"Also consider burning of agricultural waste in so-called economically-developed countries. Can you guess which ?"

No I can't guess. Have any links?

The US for instance grows a lot of rice. Primarily that is in delta areas such as the Sacramento River near Sacramento and toward San Francisco, and in the famous swamp areas around New Orleans and the Everglades in Florida.

The US banned burning in 1991, to be phased out by 2000. Now the only way to get a permit is to prove that crop harming disease is present, and that only burning will kill it. Link

The US is huge, these areas have coastal wind influence, and a little bit of burning hurts no one. It is totally unlike SE Asia.

A problem with rice straw is that despite best efforts by scientists even in universities, there's little commercial value for it. The answer for most is to plow it in and let it compost. However in soils that never or rarely dry out, there is anaerobic decomposition which sours the soil. Farmers with this type of soil struggle the most.

I can remember when fields were burned before anyone cared. It wasn't just rice either. Those who grew grass seed for lawns always burned the fields to remove disease and weeds so that their seed would be pure. I can't recall anyone burning corn stalks because it is a grass and makes a good winter feed supplement for ruminants such as cattle. It is harvested green and made into "silage."

So who are these so-called developed countries which treat their air as SE Asia does? I will be sad to learn.

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