Haze lingers as farmers keep burning

Haze lingers as farmers keep burning

Rice straw (above), corn fields and sugar cane crops are three of the top targets for fires intentionally set by farmers. (File photo)
Rice straw (above), corn fields and sugar cane crops are three of the top targets for fires intentionally set by farmers. (File photo)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Despite the recent campaign against burning sugarcane and repeated reminders from police that violators will be prosecuted, local farmers continue to practice slash-and-burn farming -- leaving several communities choked by black smoke.

Several roads in the northeastern province have also been covered by soot and ash, making road travel dangerous.

In tambon Khok Kra Buang in Ban Luam district, smoke from burning sugarcane fields significantly reduced visibility.

Nual Pruna, a 73-year-old resident, said the persistent haze has exacerbated her allergies, and caused scores of other villagers to suffer from respiratory problems because of the bad air quality.

She said local villagers are demanding government agencies to take the haze problem more seriously.

As of Sunday morning, the average concentration of the harmful, ultra-fine PM2.5 dust in the North and the Northeast peaked at 86 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), according to the Pollution Control Department (PCD).

The safe threshold is set by the PCD at 50µg/m³.

The PCD said that high readings of PM2.5 have been reported in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Nan, as well as Phrae, Phayao, and Mae Hong Son.

The department also said that the concentrations of the larger, PM10 dust in the North peaked at 123µg/m³ -- which exceeded the PCD's safe threshold for PM10 of 120µg/m³.


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