CHIANG RAI – The Department of Pollution Control Director-General, Vichien Joongroongraung, has reported that the situation of air pollution in the upper northern region of Thailand has improved thanks to the decrease of dust particles of under 10 micrometers in diameter (PM 10) in the air.
Officials in Chiang Rai have confirmed they have instructed all districts to adopt strict measures to end burning including that of domestic waste. Only a few districts in Chiang Rai town have garbage collection, leaving thousands of villages across the province to burn rubbish, usually at night, or just before dawn to avoid detection.
But the major damage comes from paddy and forest burning. Farmers burn the fields to prepare for the planning of the next rice crop, but the wholesale burning of forests is an encroachment by plantation owners who illegal occupy vast stretches of hillside, burn and clear them to plant rubber, palm oil trees.
Director-General, Vichien Joongroongraung, said on Thursday that the levels of hazardous airborne particles in many provinces remained high, especially in Mae Hong Son and Mae Sai, where the level of the tiny dust particles reached 235 micrograms per cubic meter.
In other upper northern provinces, the levels of dust particles in the air were between 26 to 235 micrograms per cubic meter, while the levels of ozone varied between 64 – 139 ppb.
Director-General, Vichien Joongroongraung, said it was necessary for local residents to refrain from burning agriculture waste and bushes to help reduce dust particles in the air.