CHIANG RAI – Haze problem has returned to Chiang Rai and several other northern provinces after the end of a 60-day campaign to encourage farmers to stop burning their harvested crops.
A new round of haze was caused by farmers burning weeds to prepare their farmland for cultivation in the forthcoming rainy season prompting officials to scramble to seek cooperation from the farmers to hold off their land clearing efforts.
Officials of the Pollution Control Department have reported poor air quality in Chiang Rai and five other northern provinces(Chiang Mai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nan and Phayao) with the amount particles in the air exceeding standard level.
The highest amount of unhealthy particles in the air was reported in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.
Residents in district of Mae Sai, have post photos of themselves wearing face masks on social media,#prayformaesai, demanding authorities seriously tackle the long-standing problem of smoke haze mostly caused by people burning off forests and farm fields.
Mr Pornchai Chitnavasathien, president of Tourism Business Association of Chiang Mai, pointed out that the new round of haze problem has badly affected tourism business in the province with tourists cancelling flights and hotel bookings.
He estimated that as many as 10 percent of tourists would skip Chiang Mai because of the haze problem.
In Phayao province, residents have been advised to wear face masks when venturing outdoor and to close their windows.
Meanwhile, The Meteorological Department today issued a new warning of strong summer storms and hailstorms in Thailand’s North, Northeast, East and Central as high pressure weather from China has now moved down and blanketed these areas which are covered by heats.
The difference of weather temperature will result in sudden change of weather and led to strong thunder storms band hailstorms, beginning April 19-21.
Affected provinces are expected in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Kamphaengphet, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Uttaradit, Phetchabun, Loei, Nong Bua Lampoo, Roi Et, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sisaket, Surin, Buriram, Amnart Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Sawan, Lopburi, Saraburi, Prachinburi, Srakaeo, Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi and Trat.
It warned people in these provinces to stay away from big trees, huge billboards, and unstable structures.