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Haze from Forest Fires and Field Burning Takes Chiang Rai’s Air Quality to Toxic Levels

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CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Pollution Control Department is warning residents with asthma or other related breathing conditions to refrain from venturing outside as air quality levels have degraded to toxic levels in Chiang Rai, Province.

Haze from field burning and forest fires with PM2.5 levels at 76-202 micrograms per cubic meter of air and the highest reading again in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Air quality levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter (PM2.5) rose from its range of 64-199 μg/m³ announced at 9am Thursday.

The peak level in the 24 hours to 9am Friday was 202 μg/m³ reported in tambon Wiang Phang Kham of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district. The air quality index (AQI) there was at 302, the highest in the country.

The deemed safe threshold for PM2.5 is 50 μg/m³ and for AQI it is 100.

Pralong Damrongthai, deputy director-general of the Pollution Control Department, said officials would have to be more serious in asking people to stop burning off fields and forests, and would spray water hourly instead of twice a day in affected areas.