Spraying water, burning bans to combat toxic dust in Khon Kaen

Spraying water, burning bans to combat toxic dust in Khon Kaen

Toxic dust shrouds the Khon Kaen municipality on Sunday morning. (Photo by Chakrapan Nathanri)
Toxic dust shrouds the Khon Kaen municipality on Sunday morning. (Photo by Chakrapan Nathanri)

KHON KAEN: Actions are being taken to combat the high levels of hazardous dust particles currently prevailing in all 26 districts of this northeastern province, according to governor Somsak Jangtrakul.

Mr Somsak said on Sunday morning toxic dust levels in many parts of Khon Kaen had reached 97 microgrammes per cubic metre -- well in excess of the safety standard of 50 µg/m³, and probably the highest in the country.

He said local officials are spraying water at various spots found to be blanketed in thick smog in all 26 districts of the province in a bid to reduce the haze.

The provincial authority has issued an order for farmers to completely halt burning sugarcane fields and rice stubble -- or face drastic legal action.

Sugar factories buying sugarcane from farmers have been asked to cooperate by giving preference to sugarcane not burned before harvesting, the governor added.

Mr Somsak said rainmaking aeroplanes of the Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department are expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon and will be stationed at the Khon Kaen airport to conduct rainmaking operations in order to reduce air pollution problem as soon as possible.

At Khon Kaen University, students and lecturers were seen wearing dust masks for health protection.

Picharat Khonopklang, manager of Nobisha shop at Khon Kaen University's food centre, said the toxic haze in Khon Kaen entered its fourth day on Sunday. The shop has taken part in the ongoing attempt to combat the hazardous dust particles by distributing three-layer masks with ear straps to students free of charge, she said.

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