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Air Pollution: Northern Thai "hell in the air"

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Wildfires in Myanmar & Thailand caused sudden dangerous levels of air pollution in northern Thailand. Children, older people & asthma suffers told to stay indoors. 

This shot of Chiang Mai taken by MCOT on Thursday shows the extent of haze across the North, caused by fires in Thailand and Myanmar.

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AIR POLLUTION

Farm fires cause heavy pollution

15 Mar 2013
Online Reporters

Every red dot on this satellite mash-up by Nasa represents a wildfire. Smoke from the blazes has blanketed parts of the North.

Much of northern Thailand as far south as Saraburi lay under a heavy blanket of haze and smoke Friday from hundreds of fires, mostly set on purpose by farmers in Thailand and Myanmar.

The crisis areas were spotted in the far North, the lower North and upper Central provinces. Saraburi, where the air quality index (AQI) touched a dangerous 104 at noon Friday, had an air pollution index of 128 which, roughly translated, means "sensitive groups such as children, older people and asthmatics should stay indoors."

Any AQI over 100 is dangerous to health, according to the Pollution Control Department, which maintains a website with information from around the country.

The most dangerous place in Thailand Friday afternoon was Mae Hong Son, where the AQI in the "pristine province" was 219. The index says an AQI this high is "an emergency condition. The entire population is more likely to be affected." 

Every red dot on this satellite mash-up by Nasa represents a wildfire. Smoke from the blazes has blanketed parts of the North.

At mid-afternoon Friday, "dangerous" readings were recorded at Chiang Mai City Hall (106), the Lampang Meteorological Station (159), and the Phrae station, which had a reading of 134.

Viewed from the steps to Doi Suthep, the city of Chiang Mai was barely visible through the haze Friday morning.

Dramatic satellite photos and charts from Nasa showed the cause and extent of the wildfires, which are set on purpose every year at this time, supposedly to prepare fields for a new crop when the rainy season begins, in April or May.

The Nasa Worldview website, which shows satellite photos of Earth in near real-time, was a dramatic mass of red dots in northern Thailand and, even more, in next door Myanmar. Each dot represents an individual fire, seen from space.

The ThaiForestFire site, a Google Map mashup showing hot spots in Thailand, was a virtual sea of yellow and red Friday.

Residents of the North described a "hell in the air" throughout the region.

"It is the worst I have seen in years," said a Lampang resident, who added the haze this week came suddenly on Thursday after a brief rain shower had cleared the air on Wednesday.

"I woke up with the taste of smoke in my throat," said a Chiang Mai resident.

(Source: Bangkok Post, AIR POLLUTION, Local News, Farm fires cause heavy pollution, 15 Mar 2013, Online Reporters, link

 
Air Pollution Vocabulary

pollution มลพิษ, ภาวะมลพิษ,  สภาวะมลพิษ, ความสกปรก
heavy pollution
farm fires cause heavy pollution

air quality index (AQI) - a way to measure pollution and the health dangers it creates: "a number used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air is currently or how polluted it is forecast to become. As the AQI increases, an increasingly large percentage of the population is likely to experience increasingly severe adverse health effects" (See Wikipedia)  

air pollution index -
a simple way to describe the air quality used in China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, "calculated from several sets of air pollution data" (See Wikipedia)

ThaiForestFire site - website watch for forest fires in Thailand and Myanmar, uses Google Map mashup technology (See website)

Google Map -
a Google site that provides maps for around the world (See Wikipedia)
mashup - a web app (on a web page) that combines information from different places, such maps with data about what is happening at different places (See Wikipedia)
a Google Map mashup

haze - water, smoke or dust in the air that makes it difficult to see clearly หมอกควัน
smoke -  a cloud of black, grey or white air tha comes from something burning ควัน

blanket -  1. a covering, such as a blanket or dust (a blanket of dust, a blanket on the bed), 2. covering completely completely. 2.
a heavy blanket of haze and smoke

on purpose -
do something because you want to do it (not an accident)
set a fire -
start a fire at a place, set on fire 
set a fire on purpose 

Much of northern Thailand as far south as Saraburi lay under a heavy blanket of haze and smoke Friday from hundreds of fires, mostly set on purpose by farmers in Thailand and Myanmar.

extent - size ขนาด
the extent of haze across the North

shot - a photo taken with a camera
This shot of Chiang Mai taken by MCOT on Thursday shows the extent of haze across the North, caused by fires in Thailand and Myanmar.

crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤต  วิกฤตการณ์
crisis areas

spotted - seen; noticed ปรากฏให้เห็น
the crisis areas were spotted in the far North

touched - reached
in the far Norththe air quality index (AQI) touched a dangerous 104 at noon Friday

roughly - not exactly, about or approxinately what it is or what it means
translated - put in a more meaningful form (so it can be understood)
roughly translated, means ... -

asthma -
a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe โรคหืด (See Wikipedia)
asthmatics - people who have asthma (often have difficulty breathing)

sensitive - easily influenced, changed or damaged, especially by a physical activity or effect รับอิทธิ-พลภายนอกได้ง่าย
sensitive groups such as children, older people and asthmatics should stay indoors

The crisis areas were spotted in the far North, the lower North and upper Central provinces. Saraburi, where the air quality index (AQI) touched a dangerous 104 at noon Friday, had an air pollution index of 128 which, roughly translated, means "sensitive groups such as children, older people and asthmatics should stay indoors."

pristine - in very good condition; unspoiled บริสุทธิ,ดั้งเดิม
the pristine province of Mae Hong Son

emergency - an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
emergency condition

population -the group of all people who live in a country, area or place กลุ่ม์ที่อาศัยอยู่ในบริเวณหนึ่ง

The most dangerous place in Thailand Friday afternoon was Mae Hong Son, where the AQI in the "pristine province" was 219. The index says an AQI this high is "an emergency condition. The entire population is more likely to be affected." 

Nasa -
the US government agency in charge of space missions and satellites
satellite mash-up by Nasa

Every red dot on this satellite mash-up by Nasa represents a wildfire.

blazes - fires
Smoke from the blazes has blanketed parts of the North.

readings
dangerous readings
dangerous readings were recorded at Chiang Mai City Hall

meteorology (noun) - the science of weather and the climate  
meteorological (adjective)
meteorological Station - a weather station (makes measurements used to predict the weather)

At mid-afternoon Friday, "dangerous" readings were recorded at Chiang Mai City Hall (106), the Lampang Meteorological Station (159), and the Phrae station, which had a reading of 134.

visible - can see (what you are looking at)

barely - almost not  แทบไม่เคยเกิดขึ้น
barely visible - can amost not see (what you are looking at)
barely visible through the haze
Viewed from the steps to Doi Suthep, the city of Chiang Mai was barely visible through the haze Friday morning.

chart - a map or drawing or graphic that shows and explains information

dramatic - a sudden, surprising or very noticeable change happening quickly, surprising, easy to notice
dramatic satellite photos
dramatic satellite photos
and charts from Nasa

wildfire -  a fire that starts in the forest or countryside and spreads very quickly
the cause and extent of the wildfires

supposedly - believed to be; thought to be เป็นที่เชื่อว่า
wildfires set on purpose  supposedly to prepare fields for a new crop when the rainy season begins

Dramatic satellite photos and charts from Nasa showed the cause and extent of the wildfires, which are set on purpose every year at this time, supposedly to prepare fields for a new crop when the rainy season begins, in April or May.

real-time
in near real-time
shows satellite photos of Earth in near real-time

individual - a person (considered separately from their society or community) บุคคล

mass - large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
dots
mass of red dots

a dramatic mass of red dots on the map in northern Thailand

The Nasa Worldview website, which shows satellite photos of Earth in near real-time, was a dramatic mass of red dots in northern Thailand and, even more, in next door Myanmar.

individual - relating to or involving a single, separate person or thing แต่ละบุคคล
individual fire

Each dot represented an individual fire, seen from space.

hot spots - dangerous places
hot spots in Thailand

virtual - almost, almost the same thing as ..., so similar to the real thing that you can treat it as the real thing เสมือนจริง
a virtual sea of yellow

The ThaiForestFire site, a Google Map mashup showing hot spots in Thailand, was a virtual sea of yellow and red Friday.

residents - people who live in a place ผู้พักอาศัย, ผู้อยู่อาศัยในบริเวณ ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
residents of the North
a Lampang
resident

hell - in some religions, the place where some people are believed to go after death to be punished forever for the bad things they have done during their lives นรก
hell in the air

Residents of the North described a "hell in the air" throughout the region.

brief - very short, lasting for a short time
brief rain shower

"It is the worst I have seen in years," said a Lampang resident, who added the haze this week came suddenly on Thursday after a brief rain shower had cleared the air on Wednesday.

throat - the area at the back of your mouth and inside your neck ช่องคอ พระศอ (คอ)
I woke up with the taste of smoke in my throat

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