Smoke haze hazardous in three southern provinces

Smoke haze hazardous in three southern provinces

Smoke haze in Trang on Tuesday (photo by Methee Muangkaew)
Smoke haze in Trang on Tuesday (photo by Methee Muangkaew)

Smoke haze from forest fires on Sumatra island, in Indonesia, covered seven southern provinces on Tuesday, with residents crowding hospitals and complaining of respiratory problems, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department stated.

Chatchai Phromlert, director-general of the department, said that haze blanketed Narathiwat, Pattani, Phuket, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani and Yala provinces.

The levels of particulate matter there ranged between 63 and 187 microgrammes per cubic metre of air measured in 24 hours, the Pollution Control Department reported Tuesday evening. The safe level is within 120 microgrammes per cu/m.

Smoke haze reached health hazardous levels in three of the provinces -- Phuket (146 microgrammes), Satun (187 microgrammes) and Songkhla (156 microgrammes).

The weather condition not only affected public health but also reduced visibility, especially on roads, Mr Chatchai said.

Local authorities were handing out face masks and people were seeking treatment for breathing problems at local hospitals.

In Yala, the number of patients reporting respiratory problems at Yala Hospital rose to 214 cases on Monday, up from 64 on Sunday.

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