Air pollution in Chiang Mai has reached hazardous levels, with people suffering from respiratory issues filling up local hospitals, the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Medicine reports.
Consistently high PM2.5 levels in the northern province have led to many residents seeking medical attention for respiratory illnesses, including asthma and inflammation.
A total of 12,671 patients sought treatment for respiratory problems between Jan 1 and March 31, the 1,400-bed Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital reported on Saturday.
The facility said it has not been able to treat a significant number of people due to congestion of its inpatient wing.
Nationwide, the number of patients with air pollution-related diseases in hospitals totalled 1.73 million between Jan 1 and March 19, figures from the Ministry of Public Health showed earlier.
A map of Chiang Mai shows air quality readings as of Saturday morning. (PR Chiang Mai)
So far, provincial officials have acknowledged that air pollution and forest fires remain a major concern, as many areas have been shrouded in smog for weeks and a distinct odour of smoke has persisted.
Although efforts are continuing to quell forest fires in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, authorities reported that hot spots have continued to expand in recent days.
According to Iqair.com, Chiang Mai was reported to have an air quality index (AQI) of 216 on Saturday afternoon and remained the world’s most polluted city, followed by Guangzhou in China and Hanoi in Vietnam.