Cross-border haze on Asean meet agenda
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Cross-border haze on Asean meet agenda

Don: Problem needs to be solved
Don: Problem needs to be solved

Thailand will put the cross-border dust pollution issue on the table at an upcoming Asean Summit, according to foreign minister, Don Pramudwinai.

Mr Don, also a deputy prime minister, said his comments in advance of the 42nd Asean Summit chaired by Indonesia at Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur, from May 9-11.

Mr Don also spoke on the haze issue after a virtual meeting was held on it last week between the leaders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hosted the virtual meeting, which Mr Don said was a positive step in finding regional solutions.

When asked about northern people urging the Foreign Ministry to coordinate with the neighbouring countries to stop their burn-offs, Mr Don said that was part of the discussion in last week's virtual meeting.

Further discussions on the issue between leaders of the three countries will be held again soon, he said.

He said the neighbouring countries also faced the same issue and wanted to resolve it.

"I want to confirm we have been trying to solve the problem," Mr Don said.

"It might have slowed during the pandemic, but the problem has now become more intense. Our neighbouring countries and we, ourselves, have to solve it," he said.

Red-code levels

Meanwhile, smog continued to cloak the upper northern region on Tuesday with PM2.5 dust at red-code levels and the worst pollution in Mae Hong Son province.

The Pollution Control Department reported that the levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter (PM2.5) ranged from 107 to 310 microgrammes per cubic metre of air over the past 24 hours as of 2pm.

Severe air pollution was recorded in 12 areas in the upper northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son and Nan.

PM2.5 levels: 135 in tambon Li of Lamphun's Li district.

141 in tambon Wiang of Chiang Rai's Muang district.

148 in tambon Wiang of Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong district.

190 in tambon Wiang Phang Kham of Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.

195 in tambon Muang Na of Chiang Mai's Chiang Dao district.

310 in tambon Wiang Tai of Mae Hong Son's Pai district.

Elsewhere, a red-code reading of 105μg/m³ was recorded in tambon Meechai of Muang district in the upper northeastern province of Nong Khai.

Pinsak Suraswadi, director-general of the Pollution Control Department, on Tuesday attributed the worsening air pollution, compared with that on Monday, to burning in forests, hotspots in neighbouring countries and stagnant air. He said that serious pollution would continue this week, especially in the border provinces of Chiang Rai and Nan.

Mr Pinsak expected ultra-fine dust levels to decline from Saturday onwards. He said weather conditions in Greater Bangkok were good due to a strong wind from the South, but stagnant air was possible in some areas of the central region on Friday and Saturday.

The government decreed safe level is 50μg/m³, much higher than most countries.

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