At the end of the government’s 60 day campaign to discourage farmers from burning the crops they harvested, the problem related to haze came back to a number of provinces in Northern Thailand.
There was a whole new problem with haze as farmers continued burning the weeds on their farmland to prepare it for the rainy season. This prompted officials to struggle in gaining the cooperation of the farmers to postpone their efforts to clear off the land.
Pollution Control Department officials reported that the particles in the air in 6 provinces in the north is beyond the standard level causing poor air quality. These six provinces are as follows: Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Nan, Phayao and Mae Hong Son. Among the provinces, the highest particle density was reported in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district with particle density of 316 microgramme/cbm.
It can be noted that this problem has been observed in earlier weeks. The haze caused by clearing of the lands of farmers have been so thick that the government stepped in to address the issue right away. This haze caused much alarm as various sectors have already been affected particularly the tourism industry.
Chiang Mai’s Tourism Business Association President Mr. Pornchai Chitnavasathien cited that this recurring haze problem has been affecting the province’s tourism adversely as tourists cancelled their flights and hotel bookings.
Based on his estimates, about 10% of the tourists cancelled their trip to Chiang Mai due to this problem related to the haze.
Residents in Phayao province have also been advised to use face masks when going out and to close the windows. The haze is also deemed to have adverse health consequences and people who are in areas where the worst of the haze can be experienced would benefit from wearing a mask especially outdoors where they will be directly exposed to air particles.