CHIANGRAI TIMES – Chiang Rai has been declared a haze disaster zone, and a state of environmental emergency may be declared there and in neighbouring northern provinces in the next few days. Sixteen districts and two sub-districts of Chiang Rai have been blanketed by thick smoke from bush fires and slash-and-burn farming practices among local residents.
The smoke has spread to other parts of the province and put many residents at risk from respiratory ailments.
Air quality measuring devices were installed in the province yesterday to test the level of pollution.
Chiang Rai is the latest to suffer from effects of the choking smoke which has also caused havoc in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Lamphun provinces over the past few weeks.
Dust particles still blanketing Lampang was measured at about 200 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/cum) on Saturday, well above safe level of 120 ug/cum for dust particles smaller than 10 microns.
Poor vision forced a Bangkok-Lampang domestic flight to land at central Sukhothai province Sunday morning and to be suspended until it is confirmed of safety by the province’s meteorological office.
Visibility in Lampang province was reduced to 10 meters and street lights had to be turned on for almost the entire day to ensure motorists’ safety.
Local residents in the affected provinces have been told to avoid outdoor activities or to use face masks when going outside as small dust particles could cause respiratory and other ailments.