Haze control effort ramps up as Songkran approaches
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Haze control effort ramps up as Songkran approaches

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has instructed Chiang Mai and every province in the upper North to prepare their operation centres to handle the haze situation in order to ease air pollution during the upcoming Songkran festival when a rise in the number of tourists is expected.

The centres, each led by the provincial governor, are expected to become fully operational on Wednesday, said Deputy Prime Minister and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Phatcharavat Wongsuwan. The governors are also tasked with keeping the public and media abreast of the local situation regarding hazardous dust pollution.

Mr Phatcharavat denied criticism that this action was a little too late, saying all relevant parties have been working hard to reduce levels of the ultrafine dust particles over the past months.

"The establishment of these centres is another part of this ongoing work," he added.

The deputy prime minister also ordered relevant state agencies to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek discussion with neighbouring countries believed to have caused the transboundary haze pollution in Thailand.

Pol Gen Phatcharavat said the army is also trying to assist with negotiations with these countries by seeking talks through the joint border committees.

All the efforts are aimed at mitigating the negative impact of the air pollution in the North, particularly the region's tourism sector, especially during the Songkran festival, he said.

Hardware and equipment to help tackle the pollution is to be delivered to the Chiang Mai operation centre on Wednesday. Chiang Mai authorities on Tuesday urged people to work from home until Friday due to further increases in PM2.5 dust.

On Tuesday, Chiang Mai led other cities as the most polluted place in the world.

Thick smog continues to plague Thailand's northern region. (Screenshot from IQAir)

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