Thailand launches clean air centers in Chiang Mai amid haze crisis

10/04/2024

TN&MTIn response to the recurring issue of haze pollution in Chiang Mai, Thailand, local authorities have taken proactive measures to alleviate the impact on residents. Clean air centers have been established across the city to provide assistance and relief to those affected by the hazardous air quality.

Thailand launches clean air centers in Chiang Mai amid haze crisis

Chiang Mai once again tops global air pollution charts, urges remote work and tourist caution

Chiang Mai tops global air pollution chart

According to Thai PBS World, Chiang Mai has once again claimed the undesirable distinction of being the city with the highest levels of air pollution globally, prompting urgent action from provincial authorities. They are urging both public and private sectors to implement remote work arrangements until April 11th due to perilous levels of PM2.5 particles in the atmosphere.

Chiang Mai Governor Nirat Pongsitthithavorn has emphasized the significance of this announcement for the well-being of both residents and visitors, underscoring the persistent communication gap concerning the PM2.5 issue, which stems predominantly from forest fires. Despite concerted efforts to combat these fires, including offering rewards for the capture of arsonists, the situation remains dire, with over 6,000 hotspots detected in neighboring countries since the start of April.

On April 4th, Fang and Prao districts were designated public disaster zones due to escalating smoke from forest fires. PM2.5 levels have consistently fluctuated between 84.1µg/m³ and 224.3µg/m³, posing significant health risks. Consequently, government agencies have implemented work-from-home measures, while restaurants and entertainment venues have been advised to provide air-conditioned spaces for patrons.

Additionally, the public has been strongly encouraged to wear face masks when outdoors, and outdoor activities in public parks have been suspended until April 11th. Chiang Mai's air quality index (AQI) reading at 7am on April 9th ranked highest globally at 194, closely followed by Kathmandu, New Delhi, and Lahore.

Establishing clean air centers to aid haze-affected individuals

Responding to the recurrent issue of haze pollution in Chiang Mai, local authorities have implemented proactive measures to alleviate its impact on residents. Clean air centers have been strategically positioned across the city to offer essential respite to individuals afflicted by respiratory problems and other health issues aggravated by the haze. These centers are equipped with air purifiers and other vital amenities, serving as safe havens for residents seeking refuge from the polluted air.

The establishment of clean air centers underscores the government's unwavering commitment to safeguarding public health and mitigating the adverse effects of haze pollution. Collaborative efforts between government agencies, local communities, and relevant stakeholders are underway to tackle the issue comprehensively.

Furthermore, additional measures are being implemented to address the root causes of haze pollution, including enhancing air quality monitoring systems and enforcing stricter regulations to curb activities contributing to air pollution. Public awareness campaigns are also being conducted to educate residents on ways to minimize their carbon footprint and protect the environment.

The establishment of clean air centers represents a pivotal step towards addressing the urgent health concerns posed by haze pollution in Chiang Mai. By providing a safe refuge for affected individuals and implementing long-term solutions to mitigate air pollution, authorities are steadfast in their commitment to creating a healthier and more sustainable environment for all residents.

Ngoc Huyen (Thailand PRD, Thai PBS World, Bangkok Post) 

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