Leech-like parasites found in Chiang Mai moat

Leech-like parasites found in Chiang Mai moat

Many Songkran festival revellers draw their water supply from Chiang Mai's famous moat but lab tests have detected a large number of parasites in its mud sediment. (Photo by Jetjaras na Ranong)
Many Songkran festival revellers draw their water supply from Chiang Mai's famous moat but lab tests have detected a large number of parasites in its mud sediment. (Photo by Jetjaras na Ranong)

Lab tests have detected a large number of parasites in the mud sediment of Chiang Mai's famous moat, where many Songkran festival revellers will be drawing their water supply.

No official warning against parasitic infections has been issued by health experts, and municipal Chiang Mai officials said they are working to clean the moat's water so it can be safely used in Songkran celebrations from April 10-15.

The moat, which is located in the old precinct of Muang district, hosts parasite samples that look like leeches, according to the initial lab results of Maejo Agricultural University's Faculty of Fisheries Technology and Aquatic Resources.

The university's experts detected the parasites while they were testing the water for heavy metal pollution. It has not been determined exactly what type of parasites they are. 

The discovery prompted the Chiang Mai municipality to investigate the hygiene of the water in the moat.

Meanwhile, other government departments are working to boost water supplies for Songkran festival revellers.

The Chiang Mai Provincial Irrigation Office released water from Mae Chok Luang reservoir to increase water volume in the moat.

The Provincial Waterworks Authority installed 12 tap water vending machines near the Nawarat Bridge and along Tha Phae Road in the downtown area. 

Governor Suriya Prasatbandit yesterday brought almost 1,000 volunteers to clean the areas around the moat and nearby Tha Phae Gate.

The roads adjacent to the moat are expected to be crowded with people turning up for the Songkran celebration over the long weekend.

Another pollution problem, haze, is sitting slightly above safety standards at one microgramme above the 120ucg per cubic metre limit, according to measurements by the Yupparaj Wittayalai School in Muang district.

The pollution problem persists despite efforts to curb it, such as water spraying to dispel dust, because farmers persist in farm burning and lighting forest fires, said Mr Suriya.

Officials have installed water sprinklers on the Nawarat Bridge to curb the dust levels and provide relief to revellers.

Similarly, in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin municipality, officials are preparing for the Songkran festival by building a "water tunnel" where visitors will be sprinkled with blessed water from Wat Huai Mongkhon for 200 metres along Damnoen Kasem Road.


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