Coming up for air

PM2.5 dust particles cover the sky in this photo of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok earlier this month. Photo by Apichart Jinakul
PM2.5 dust particles cover the sky in this photo of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok earlier this month. Photo by Apichart Jinakul

Thailand's surging PM2.5 dust pollution is damaging both the economy and people's health.

Chiang Mai on March 11 and 12 earned the unwanted title of worst air quality in the world, on the IQAir global index.

Business leaders and government officials have called for more action to reduce the levels of harmful dust, especially during the first few months of each year.

"If Thailand is going to make tourism a national agenda, air pollution and environmental issues must be the top priority," said the Thai Hotels Association.

There were reports a few years ago that tourists immediately checked out of their rooms and left northern Thailand because of fear of the air pollution, the association added.

Industry authorities have new measures to cope with PM2.5 released from burning sugar cane plantations after previous efforts failed.

The Office of the Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) is talking with farmers and manufacturers to find ways to stop sugar cane burning, which produces large amounts of PM2.5.

However, the meetings have been inconclusive.

PM2.5 levels had reached as high as 225 microgrammes per cubic metre (μg/m³) in some spots earlier this month.

A recent survey by Maejo University found that law enforcement is seen as an effective method to solve the haze problem in the North.

Regarding the PM2.5 dust, the survey found most people made preparations to deal with it.

Most respondents had equipment, such as masks or air purifiers, and they cleaned their homes to prevent the accumulation of dust.

The haze in the northern provinces has been a problem for many years.

The current air pollution situation in the North is critical, said the university.

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  • accumulation: increasing over time as more and more is added - การเก็บสะสม, การพอกพูน, การรวมตัวกันมากขึ้น, การเพิ่มจำนวนมากขึ้น,
  • agenda: a set of goals - เบื้องลึก
  • critical (adj): (of a bad situation) very serious or dangerous - รุนแรง  วิกฤต
  • dust: very small pieces of dirt that cover surfaces inside buildings like a powder - ฝุ่น
  • effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
  • enforcement: the process of making sure that something happens, especially that people obey a law or rule - การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
  • especially: more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
  • harmful: causing damage or injury to somebody/something, especially to a person's health or to the environment - เป็นอันตราย,เป็นภัย
  • haze: water, smoke or dust in the air that makes it difficult to see clearly - หมอกควัน
  • immediately (adv): happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที
  • inconclusive: not leading to a definite decision or result - ซึ่งไม่มีผลสรุปที่แน่ชัด
  • manufacturer: a person or company that manufactures a product - ผู้ผลิต
  • measures (noun): actions taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ
  • plantation (n): a large farm where crops such as tea, coffee, cotton, sugar or trees, are grown - ไร่ นาขนาดใหญ่
  • preparations (noun): things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready - การตระเตรียม
  • priority: something important that must be done first or which needs more attention than something else - การมาก่อน
  • purifier: something that cleans , that makes pure - สิ่งที่ใช้ชำระล้าง
  • sugar cane (noun): a tall tropical plant with thick stems that is used for producing sugar - ต้นอ้อย, อ้อย
  • survey: the act of asking for and recording information - การสำรวจ, การหาข้อมูล
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