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Move To The City For Cleaner Air?


loong

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When you talk about air pollution in Thailand, you're normally thinking about vehicle exhaust fumes in Bangkok or the other large cities. Not always so.

I live in a village north of Khon Kaen and the air quality is getting pretty bad now.

It's sugar cane harvest time again and the air is full of smuts from where they burn off the outside leaves from the stalks. That's bad enough in itself, but we suffer with more.

One of the village industries here is making charcoal and recently there has been a dramatic increase in production. The acrid smell from the smoke fills the air 24 hours a day.

Clean all surfaces inside the house and the next day they are coated with black

Everybody has coughs, but I don't think that they connect it with the charcoal production.

So what can I do? I guess the only thing I can do is move.

People have to earn a living and so they are not likely to stop just because they are causing health problems for their children. If I complained, I would just be viewed as a troublemaker.

I imagine that there are probably laws relating to pollution of this nature close to habitation, but this is Thailand.

Has anybody else suffered with this, and if so, how did you deal with it?

I have posted here and not in the health section as I believe this relates more to life in Thailand

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Move or stay with that. You can do nothing else.

But wondering why you choose to live over there in the first place? Because the wife is Isan you do not have to live there.

There are so many beautiful, non polluted places in Thailand to live.

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most probably there is a law about smoke and fumes pollution. Pushing an environmental and health commissions in the local government office is worth to try

Londonthai, the problem is, if I tried to do anything like that, I would be very unpopular with the locals.

But wondering why you choose to live over there in the first place? Because the wife is Isan you do not have to live there.

There are so many beautiful, non polluted places in Thailand to live.

Birdman, It was different when I first came here. The charcoal was made on a very small scale. It's not exactly huge now, but enough to make an impact on the environment. Also a lot more land that was uncultivated before is now being used to grow sugar cane.

This morning is such a relief as there is a breeze blowing the fumes from the charcoal in the opposite direction. Hope that it keeps up.

I suppose that it will get better in the rainy season.

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Really sorry to hear about your problem.

I think moving is your best option.

I'm in a similar situation. Just moved into a brand new house 6 months ago in a small development. The grounds for many rais around the houses here are plain dirt, trucked in and filled to raise the area above the yearly floods. The owners refuse to plant grass or lay any sort of ground covers so all the area becomes a dust bowl whenever there is a slight breeze. Several other residents and I were coughing our lungs out for a couple of week. The owner even got sick on the dust as well, but he pretended that it wasn't the dust.

I took a two week vacation elsewhere and immediately felt better on my first day away. You realize how important breathing is once you can't get enough air in your lungs.

The house is great, the area is nice. I like my neighbors, but I'll be moving in a month when my lease is up. Big headache and a dent in the wallet.

Best of luck with your situation.

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Most interesting subject, I also want to move away from Phuket. The air at the Southern tip of the island is good, but when you get closer to Phuket town it is getting worse plus the traffic soon will be like Bkk.

Where will you move to, MacX?

Where to people foresee that living quality may be still good, now and in the foreseeable future?

I like the North, but about 2-3 months of the year of burning wood , rice fields cuts away 20 % of good living. Going somewhere else during that time is possible, but to obliged to go on vacation is not my desire.

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Londonthai, the problem is, if I tried to do anything like that, I would be very unpopular with the locals.

you can just write letters or even emails to the amphur local authority officials, if they don't reply and don't act, go to the district or province offices. There might be some of your neighbours thinking exactly as you do and not living off agriculture, and you can take action together.

otherwise if own the house and you would like to sell it, you won't get much money, because polluted environment is a deterrent for new buyers

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One of the reasons I would never buy/build a home in Thailand is because of the pervasive problem of pollution (air/water/noise). I live in a lovely Moo Bahn. For years it has been quiet with good air quality. In the past year, a big road was built not far away making it slightly noisier. Then some type of pumping station (for a gas pipeline I think) was built nearby and it is quite noisy. All of this is in what used to be a quiet area. The road and the plant nearby have also significantly reduced air quality.

They build anything they want, anywhere they want.

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Get out of there as soon as you can. Don't go kidding yourself that air like this isn't going to have some serious impact on your health from long term exposure. After 6 years of breathing the filth that constituted air during the dry season in Chiang Mai, I developed marked respiratory symptoms and decided enough was enough. It took me another year to organise the move but within a few weeks of having escaped the city, my symptoms had gone. Hopefully I've avoided irreversible damage but had I remained there till I was old and grey then I think it would have been a different matter. If surfaces in your house are covered in black dust then it's in your lungs as well. Ask yourself seriously can that be doing you any good?

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Not sure where I'll move to next, TP. I tend to get around quite a bit.

Last year I rented an ocean-front house, gorgeous view, heavenly sea breeze. Found out rather quickly that the bar nearby didn't get going until about 3am and often opened till dawn, replete with fights, loud music, roaring motorcycles, screaming, dancing, drunken revelers. (Note, I did scout out the place before hand and talked to some of the locals, but no one mentioned this, and of course, after checking out the place at midnight several times, I didn't think it was necessary to hang around till 3am).

Bar owner is, of course, very well connected with police :o His daddy is a big captain and the whole family are Bibs.

Imagine the values of the adjacent properties.

Darn shame. I loved the view, but no sleep ain't healthy.

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Well things have been so much better today now that the breeze has turned, but of course you can't rely on the wind.

The missus took the 3 year old and niece to the doctor this evening at the local health centre.

The doctor would give medicine to help with the symptoms, but totally uninterested in the cause. Said that nothing could be done about the charcoal production. This , of course is Boolshyte as it IS part of the health centre's mandate to monitor and do something about local health hazards. They just know that usually they will be wasting their time.

In a previous relationship, I lived in Jungwat Phrae and had similar problems. the neighbour was the brother of my girlfriend at that time. He decided to make charcoal from bamboo in an old oil drum. The smoke from that was really bad and used to fill the house. If I stayed at home, I was choking all the time. The brother was ok, he set it going and then went out. He just wasn;t interested in our complaints as it didn't bother him at all. I had to do something as I was driven out of my home every day. I had a quiet word at the local health center and they did put a stop to it without letting on where the complaint had come from.

My missus says that the locals here are feeling the effects of the charcoal manufacture, but just don't make the connection

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The smoke from Charcoal production is one of the worst smoke I've experienced here. Usually there's a few people in the village making it and its not too bad but this year the productions gone off the scale. Its due to the availabilty of a lot of Lamyai and Orange wood that has just been uprooted because its become non productive . I suspect in my case its just a one off.

There going to do anything possible to make money and charcoal is about 1oo baht a sack around here. So its a nice earner for relatively little work.

What are they using to make charcoal there ?

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One of the village industries here is making charcoal and recently there has been a dramatic increase in production. The acrid smell from the smoke fills the air 24 hours a day.

Yuk, that is one of the most horrible smells I have come across... along with the smell from Bamboo being cooked !

Totster :o

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There are so many beautiful, non polluted places in Thailand to live.

I'd sincerely like to know where as I have posted about this too. I have found nowhere in Thailand that is reliably with fresh air that is remotely close to any form of civilization. In Udon Thani, Kon Kaen, Chiang Mai and definitely Bangkok I am constantly bombarded by dangerous pollutants.

One of the reasons I would never buy/build a home in Thailand is because of the pervasive problem of pollution (air/water/noise). I live in a lovely Moo Bahn. For years it has been quiet with good air quality. In the past year, a big road was built not far away making it slightly noisier. Then some type of pumping station (for a gas pipeline I think) was built nearby and it is quite noisy. All of this is in what used to be a quiet area. The road and the plant nearby have also significantly reduced air quality.

They build anything they want, anywhere they want.

I do think in much of the west our laws are overzealous and draconian but the one area where we are ahead is in environmental protection if you compare us to Thailand. The Mai Phen Rai attitude can be very refreshing with the exception of when laws are good and protect us. People in Thailand simply do not care about the environment and have resolved themselves to wearing cheap 3M face masks as a way of dealing with the problem. I have adapted to everything about life in Thailand and have no complaints with the exception of pollution, it is disgusting and getting worse. It is the main reason I'll be happy to go when my time comes.

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near our house the burn plastic waste (Bangkok, Thaveewattana) We asked about what we can do, answer: They burn it on a piece of land which is on the border between two districts so nobody feels in charge of it.....

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The smoke from Charcoal production is one of the worst smoke I've experienced here. Usually there's a few people in the village making it and its not too bad but this year the productions gone off the scale. Its due to the availabilty of a lot of Lamyai and Orange wood that has just been uprooted because its become non productive . I suspect in my case its just a one off.

There going to do anything possible to make money and charcoal is about 1oo baht a sack around here. So its a nice earner for relatively little work.

What are they using to make charcoal there ?

Sorry, I don't know what timber is being used, probably a mixture as some the people go out and collect and some is from the offcuts from making those low table type things that are topped with bamboo strips.

Ironically, the charcoal makers do not own the land that they use. The owner of the land, (had been uncultivated) planted sugarcane last year and out of consideration, did not plant too close to the houses. If he had planted up to the edge of his land, we would only suffer during crop burning time!

I'm sure that I read some time back that there was some limit of allowances re air pollution applied and that these allowances were in a way traded. The Uk could effectively "buy" some of these allowances from Thailand. I think that any official figures for air pollution in Thailand have no actual basis in fact.

Most of the cooking in this village is over wood fires and they tend to use old inner tubes or rubber shoes to get the fires going. The amount of pollution from cooking alone in all of the villages must be extremely high.

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I had the same problem in snooky Cambodia,was on holiday and felt like shit was staying downtown,

Its a toxic mix of dust,charcoal making,cooking with charcoal,traffic pollution,and the burning of

plastic waste and garbage in general.

Then throw in the burning of all that fake money and whatever else they were burning outside every

dwelling during the chinese new year its a health nightmare.

PP was the same Bangkok seemed ok but the heat in the city is a killer.

please let us all know if you know somwwhere non toxic.

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There are so many beautiful, non polluted places in Thailand to live.

I'd sincerely like to know where as I have posted about this too. I have found nowhere in Thailand that is reliably with fresh air that is remotely close to any form of civilization.

An emphatic me too! Fresh air is only a dream to me now. I live in a Phetchabun moo baan. Here too there are several houses that make charcoal: thick, smoldering, acrid smoke spewing out all the time. Neighbors also burn rubbish which can include plastic trash on a daily basis. And I am not making this up--some burn wood and green stuff just to stay warm when it is 80 degrees outside. I have learned my lesson on cold nights to shut the windows as a precaution. Morning, day, and all night long are never safe from smoke permeating the house. I have driven around other areas with the windows down and yes, there is smoke issues just the same so seems to be an endemic part of the culture. I am now bracing for my first year through the so called "controlled" burning of private and public forests and farmlands as the height of the dry season approaches (I gather "controlled" means they will burn absolutely every square inch they can reach). Sad to say Bangkok air was better than this. The only option I see for country living with good air is to find somewhere as far away from Thai people as possible because I have come to equate neighbors with pollution. Otherwise wonderful and kind people to be around.

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near our house the burn plastic waste (Bangkok, Thaveewattana) We asked about what we can do, answer: They burn it on a piece of land which is on the border between two districts so nobody feels in charge of it.....

You're getting dosed with dioxin with the burning of plastic. March right over to the culprit and ask them to please stop it stinks..

I do it,

They understand smelling bad ..is bad. ,Get cancer, OK , but smell bad, no .

I care for horses , the sensitive thoroughbreds get nose bleeds from smoke so I don't hesitate for one minute.

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If you do want to complain, the district health office (sam-nak-ngaan saa-tar-a-na-sook amphur) is more appropriate than the health centre (sa-taa-nee an-eh-mie). You need to complain to a public health officer rather than a physician The local government unit (tessebaan or OBT) will also have a small environmental/public health section.

Edited by citizen33
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If you do want to complain, the district health office (sam-nak-ngaan saa-tar-a-na-sook amphur) is more appropriate than the health centre (sa-taa-nee an-eh-mie). You need to complain to a public health officer rather than a physician The local government unit (tessebaan or OBT) will also have a small environmental/public health section.
after having complained to the local government people report what happened.They probably will tell you that you should show some understanding for these folks as they are not educated enough.The people will not listen to them if you are lucky they will stop for a short time.Besides they have local political superiors who do not want to lose the next election.
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Well, we've had a few days where the breeze has mostly kept the fumes away from the house and directed it at the house of a woman with some connection to the landowner. She keeps an eye on the land for the owner and after a few sleepless nights with coughing fits, she has ordered the charcoal makers to finish the work in progress and then p*ss off.

Of course only time will tell if this is good news as they will relocate to I don't know where and it may be worse or better!

But, I think that they are at least aware that the locals not involved in the production are sick of the stench and so I hope that they will be more considerate.

Edited by loong
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I have relocated to BKK and been here for 2 months now. I am quite a fit guy, no smoking , little drinking and regular gym goer. Recently on the treadmill i experienced a shortage in breath, it was a strange sensation right in the middle of my chest. Then yesterday after taking my daily walk back from near Pantip to Din deng i later that night had chest pains which i have never had before. After reading this tiopic i am wondering if this is due to the extreme pollution and the fact i am not used to it. I have bought one of those face masks to wear when i walk, i do not care what people think i look like but do they actually work?

As other posters have asked, does anyone know where the best place to live in thailand in terms of clean air and good people of course. A friend told me Kalasin is good...

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I have relocated to BKK and been here for 2 months now. I am quite a fit guy, no smoking , little drinking and regular gym goer. Recently on the treadmill i experienced a shortage in breath, it was a strange sensation right in the middle of my chest. Then yesterday after taking my daily walk back from near Pantip to Din deng i later that night had chest pains which i have never had before. After reading this tiopic i am wondering if this is due to the extreme pollution and the fact i am not used to it. I have bought one of those face masks to wear when i walk, i do not care what people think i look like but do they actually work?

As other posters have asked, does anyone know where the best place to live in thailand in terms of clean air and good people of course. A friend told me Kalasin is good...

If you want to see how the air is in Bangkok - take a short trip to Pats or Hua Hin for a weekend and then on your way back into the city - notice how your eyes start burning as you get within a few kilometres of the outskirts.

As for the facemasks, are you the guy with the bright yellow one I saw on the skytrain?

And for the record, exercising in bangkok is dangerous for your health. Heavy breathing should be avoided unless in the confines of your own bedroom.

Now I know why I am such a lazy duff. :o

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I have relocated to BKK and been here for 2 months now. I am quite a fit guy, no smoking , little drinking and regular gym goer. Recently on the treadmill i experienced a shortage in breath, it was a strange sensation right in the middle of my chest. Then yesterday after taking my daily walk back from near Pantip to Din deng i later that night had chest pains which i have never had before. After reading this tiopic i am wondering if this is due to the extreme pollution and the fact i am not used to it. I have bought one of those face masks to wear when i walk, i do not care what people think i look like but do they actually work?

As other posters have asked, does anyone know where the best place to live in thailand in terms of clean air and good people of course. A friend told me Kalasin is good...

If you want to see how the air is in Bangkok - take a short trip to Pats or Hua Hin for a weekend and then on your way back into the city - notice how your eyes start burning as you get within a few kilometres of the outskirts.

As for the facemasks, are you the guy with the bright yellow one I saw on the skytrain?

And for the record, exercising in bangkok is dangerous for your health. Heavy breathing should be avoided unless in the confines of your own bedroom.

Now I know why I am such a lazy duff. :o

i am not that guy ! But a run in the park is defo out the question then :D

Where should i live, don't like Pattaya never been to Hua Hin though....

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by coincidence, this in the nation today...

Smog 'doubles Chiang Mai lung cancer threat'

By The nation

Published on February 19, 2009

Due to constant exposure to seasonal smog, residents in Chiang Mai face twice the risk of lung cancer as people elsewhere, a Chiang Mai University medical lecturer said yesterday.

The annual risk rate for lung cancer among the population in the North is now 40 per 100,000 people - compared to 20 per 100,000 people in other regions, said Assoc Professor Phongthep Wiwatthanadej.

Up to 600 Chiang Mai residents will face lung cancer risk each year, out of a total population of 1.7 million people living in this northern province.

Phongthep said his theory was not supported yet by any research, but said the constant smog exposure had subjected Chiang Mai locals to lung cancer risk, especially those living in Saraphee district, where the highest risk rate was reported.

The rate suffered by women in the district was one the highest in the world, he said without elaborating.

The doctor was speaking at a local seminar held by Chiang Mai University to address the ongoing smog, which is now covering the province more heavily, causing greater health concerns for locals.

More and more cases of hospital treatment for those suffering from smog are reported, which mostly involves respiratory problems and irritation to patients' eyes.

The other provinces affected by the smog, which is caused by forest and manmade fires, are Lampang, Lamphun, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Phetchabun.

Part of the smog is travelling from Burma.

Duangjan Arphawatcharut, a CMU researcher, said honey producers and bee farmers suffered a 70percent loss in revenue after flowers bloomed for only two days before the smog hit the North.

Global warming had been already disturbing the bees' activities beforehand.

In neighbouring Chiang Rai, the safety status will be announced in areas where dust density exceeds a safe level of 200 micrograms per cubic meter.

The existing dust density level is now far from reaching that stage but local civil disaster officers are monitoring the situation.

Maybe Bangkok is not so bad after all, cough.

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Recently on the treadmill i experienced a shortage in breath, it was a strange sensation right in the middle of my chest. Then yesterday after taking my daily walk back from near Pantip to Din deng i later that night had chest pains which i have never had before.

chest pain might be heart problems (don't panic - just go and check blood pressure and ECG), rather than lungs (you would have coughing with mucus, shortbreath, wizzing etc).

you live in the town centre - certainly it's not the healthiest place to be. If you find out that you have some medical condition, the best is to move out of the city to the suburbs, within a commuting distance to your work. Just a few miles makes a difference for the air quality. After reading article about chang mai worth to think long term solution to health.

walking a few hours on bangkok streets makes me unusually tired and I would have a headache - go back to the suburban house and within an hour I feel fresh and alive

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Recently on the treadmill i experienced a shortage in breath, it was a strange sensation right in the middle of my chest. Then yesterday after taking my daily walk back from near Pantip to Din deng i later that night had chest pains which i have never had before.

chest pain might be heart problems (don't panic - just go and check blood pressure and ECG), rather than lungs (you would have coughing with mucus, shortbreath, wizzing etc).

you live in the town centre - certainly it's not the healthiest place to be. If you find out that you have some medical condition, the best is to move out of the city to the suburbs, within a commuting distance to your work. Just a few miles makes a difference for the air quality. After reading article about chang mai worth to think long term solution to health.

walking a few hours on bangkok streets makes me unusually tired and I would have a headache - go back to the suburban house and within an hour I feel fresh and alive

Where is a nice surburban area in BKK? perhaps an area that still has MRT so getting into town is easier.

The only reason i stayed central really was so i could walk to my favourite shopping places but now i fear for my health i would consider moving. I was put off before by some thai people telling me that many places on the outskirts of BKK have higher crime rates. Not sure if this is true but if someone could suggest some nice areas that would be great. Thanks

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I live in Khao Yai. :D Over the last 3 years the burning of fields has greatly diminished. Now would be the peak period, just before the rains, and there is nix. Maybe people taking Royal advice, or all the Bangkok Hi-so's who have recently moved here. :D Living in or close to a Moo Baan will always involve pollution problems. TIT. After 2 years in Bangkok, moving to Khao Yai was just what the doctor ordered. :D Lived in Chiang Dao for a while, never noticed pollution there.

Khao Yai is a 3 hour commute to Bangkok though. Maybe a weekend place up here :D Give the old bellows a rest. :o

Regards

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