CHIANG RAI – The northern region has been hit by a haze crisis for over a week, with PM10 levels in up to 9 provinces consistently exceeding safety limits.
The PM10 level reached a new high of 217 micrograms per cubic meters on Thursday in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district. In general, the particulate matter level should not exceed 120 micrograms.
Mae Hong Son trails after Chiang Rai in poor air quality, with the PM10 level measured at 186 micrograms in its urban areas. In Chiang Mai, the PM10 level peaked at 139 micrograms in its Muang district.
Local residents in 9 northern provinces including Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai have been wearing face masks since the crisis began.
The prevalence of haze around the Mekong River is getting worse, so travelers who are taking boat trips around the area are being warned to be careful.
Today (21 March) at Chiang Saen District in Chiang Rai, there was a large amount of smog, and as a result, freighters from Thailand, China, and Laos have all dropped anchors in the area until the haze subsides.
Visibility along the Mekong River has been reduced to 1 kilometer and the river is densely covered by the haze, so people who travel along the river must be careful since the river has rocks that the boats could easily hit with the lowered visibility. Sailors have to signal and blow a horn to caution other boats, since the sight-line is compromised.
In Chiang Rai, about 236 micrograms of particulates have found per cubic meters, and in Mae Sai, about 244 micrograms per cubic meters, which is having an effect on people’s health. In Chiang Rai, there is a campaign imploring the public to not to burn things for the next 100 days as a precaution.
The district is coordinating with Myanmar to make the campaign more effective and Myanmar has also emphasized reducing the amount of burning in the area, as it affects aviation visibility as well.