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Chiang Mai and Northern provinces suffering from environmental disaster

Air contaminants receding but still at dangerous levels Military planes shower tons of water over Chiang Mai

CMM Reporters/TNA/AP

The air quality in Chiang Mai has improved slightly in the past three days but experts say the levels are still at dangerous levels and they will remain at high levels throughout this week. According to Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Prat Boonyawongvirot, about 1.5 million people are experiencing health problems forcing thousands to seek treatment in hospitals and clinics in the Northern provinces.

A Buddhist monk braving the elements in downtown Chiang Mai. (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu)

Manuals on self-care and caring for families in such polluted environments have been distributed to residents throughout the north, he said.

Paisal Kuvalairat, spokesman of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said some 6,000 hot spots were being tracked by aerial reconnaissance in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lampoon and Phayao.

On Friday Primer Minister Surayud Chulanont visited Chiang Mai to personally inspect the military’s efforts to reduce the haze that has affected residents in three Northern provinces for over two weeks.

On Saturday four specially adapted military planes flew over Chiang Mai dropping tons of water in an attempt to dissipate some of the smoke brought on by out of control forest and brush fires.

Authorities said the level of tiny dust particles reached as high as 383 micrograms per cubic meter last Wednesday, the worst since the smoky skies began to cover the city on March 1. The Pollution Control Department says less than 50 micrograms per cubic meter is “good,” while up to 100 is “acceptable” air quality. More than 200 micrograms per cubic meter can “seriously affect your health” and anything over 300 is considered “dangerous.” Saturday’s air quality level reading indicated a drop to 176 in Chiang Mai, while Chiang Rai registered a level of 169 and Mae Hong Son at 240 micrograms per cubic meter.

A motorcyclist covers up to avoid breathing in contaminants. (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu)

The Pollution Control Department’s level readings can be accessed through their website in English at: http://www.pcd.go.th/indexEng.cfm

The reduction of airborne dust particles may be attributed to public awareness of this environmental crisis.

The dry weather has fueled forest fires that have mixed with pollution to cast an eye-stinging, throat-burning haze. People suffering from allergies, asthma, lung and heart diseases are urged to wear masks and to stay indoors with the windows closed until the polluted skies diminish. Pregnant women, senior citizens and children were advised to wear face masks.

According to local health officials based on an initial evaluation, the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases had increased by 10-20 per cent in the past week, compared to the same period last year. Ninety per cent of these patients were out-patients.

The Health Ministry said it has requested the help of 100,000 volunteers to go door to door in Chiang Mai and distribute 130,000 masks.

Area residents have already been barred from burning their garbage, a common practice in the city and surrounding areas, said Prachon Panchakul, chief of the disaster prevention and mitigation center in Chiang Mai province. They have recommended burying instead of burning dry leaves and garbage.

“Before, we called for people’s cooperation, but now we are strictly ordering them to stop open-air burning,” he said. Signs posted around Chiang Mai warned that violators could face fines of up to 2,000 baht.

The Chiang Mai International Airport has also been affected by the pollution as several airlines were forced to cancel or divert flights this past week due to poor visibility.

A leading think tank in Bangkok, Kasikorn Research Centre, reported that the polluted environment in Chiang Mai is having a direct impact both on public health and local economic activities, particularly tourism and related services.

Their report projected a reduction in the amount of currency in circulation in tourism and related services in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Mae Hong Son in March and April by about Bt2 billion (about US$65.5 million) or 25 per cent of the total.

It said the smaller number of tourists would lead to a decline in spending in March and April during which there are long holidays and festivals such as Songkran or the Thai New Year.

In neighboring Nan Province, Dr. Pisit Sriprasert at Nan’s provincial hospital said about 160 patients a day is seeking medical help.

Nan forest fire control Chief Muangman Kerdnana said the seasonal fires were expected to be critical due to severe drought conditions. His firefighters are prepared to work around the clock, but are short of necessary equipment for the numbers of workers needed.

Meanwhile firefighting airplanes and attempts to induce rain in Chiang Mai by cloud-seeding have so far failed to extinguish many of the fires in the area.

Despite the little success in clearing the smoke, the royal rain-making operations center will continue operations with two additional planes supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. A special technique will be applied as well. In addition to chemicals, 500 liters of water will be sprayed during each flight to increase airborne moisture. The rain-making operations are expected to result in success next week when the moisture in the air is higher.

The Thai government has warned that the haze could persist until April and has instructed officials to monitor the situation closely until at least the month of June, said government spokesman Yongyuth Maiyalarb.

Modifié par ongbak

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smile.gif Top ten de l'Asie ce jour,Höchsttemperatur [°C]: 27.03.2007

Sortierung: Nord - Süd A - Z Warm - Kalt Kalt - Warm

Tak (126 m, Thailand) 40°

Bhumibol Dam (144 m, Thailand) 40°

Bua Chum (51 m, Thailand) 40°

Thong Pha Phum (99 m, Thailand) 40°

Udon Thani (178 m, Thailand) 40°

Ramgundam (156 m, Indien) 40°

Lomsak (145 m, Thailand) 40°

Lampang (244 m, Thailand) 40°

Phrae (163 m, Thailand) 39°

Ahmadabad Airport (55 m, Indien) 39°

Khon Kaen (195 m, Thailand) 39°

Nan (202 m, Thailand) 39°

Lamphun (298 m, Thailand) 39°

Chiang Mai Airport (314 m, Thailand) 39°

Surat (12 m, Indien) 39°

Mae Hong Son (268 m, Thailand) 39°

Kurnool (281 m, Indien)

Source: wetteronline

Eh bien Marc, ton fiston va se balader à poil, en bref: la pollution semble dissipée thumbsup.gif

Modifié par ongbak

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smile.gif Aktuelles Wetter: Chiang Mai Airport (314m)

Ortszeit

12:00 MESZ = 17:00 Temperatur Wetter

So, 01.04. 17:00 38°C leicht bewölkt

So, 01.04. 16:30 39°C leicht bewölkt

So, 01.04. 16:00 40°C leicht bewölkt

So, 01.04. 15:30 40°C leicht bewölkt

sOURCE: wetteronline du dimanche premier avril.

Encore trois mois de patience... rolleyes.gif

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