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Smoke, Smog, Dust 2012 Chiang Mai


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Educating them in composting ain't going to work. At least it would work, though it was said tongue in cheek. hit-the-fan.gif

It's all well and fine to joke about the problem but it's a problem that needs to be solved and that takes solutions, education I reckon is a large part of the answer but what are the other parts?

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No, nobody is evacuating.

The issue for me, as nikster pointed out eloquently in a previous post, is that it is not the smoke/smog/dust that is most bothersome.

It is that this is directly derived from mistaken and damaging human behavior.

I am from California USA originally, where we have earthquakes, forest fires and other misc. nature caused disasters on a regular basis.

Even the occasional tornado and mudslide...the latter almost took my life one time.

I understand the limitations of budget, etc. in addressing this problem in Thailand. I also understand that this is not something strictly due to indigenous people who are burning. I've read myriad articles on this topic, including an excellent series in Citylife by a Brit author who investigated the burning practices of rural folk around CM.

Yes, the various ethnic minorities do burn forest undergrowth, often to clear the forest floor to make it easier to hunt, collect mushrooms, etc. But largly they are (and have always been) good stewards of the forest resources.

In addition, there are many large (absentee) "land owners" who are illegally appropriating land, often in protected areas, and burning them off for commercial purposes. Anyone who reads the Thai press knows all about the "influential persons" who have through corruption grabbed national park land and built resorts, planted para rubber plantations, etc. Because often times these people are politicians, or wear a uniform of one kind or another, or come from a local politically powerful clan in a certain area....they have impunity to do these things. The penalties are laughable, but never mind that.....these people will never be charged or see the inside of a courtroom, ever. It's sort of like the US West in the 1850's, when the only law enforced was by the gun on your hip, and how many hired guns you had to back you up. My point here is that it's not just the hilltribe folks doing this burning, it is also powerful vested interests clearing land for illegal purposes. Including the neighboring countries.

Rant over, got my room air filter running, A-OK here.coffee1.gif

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So, how high can this (ug/m)^3 go until evacuation would be in order?

Thailand or "the real world"?

Well, I was thinking CM, which is "the real world" at the moment. laugh.png

Sorry, I thought you were asking when would the order for the evacuation of CM be given.

If it's just you, & no ties to keep you here, the answer is "yesterday". Head for the beach.

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So, how high can this (ug/m)^3 go until evacuation would be in order?

Thailand or "the real world"?

Well, I was thinking CM, which is "the real world" at the moment. laugh.png

Sorry, I thought you were asking when would the order for the evacuation of CM be given.

If it's just you, & no ties to keep you here, the answer is "yesterday". Head for the beach.

I would, if it wasn't for the If. laugh.png

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When I pull up the "Manual Report" for Chiang Mia City Hall from the Aqmthai.com website I'm getting far different readings then the chart on the home page.

No wonder my lungs ache.

The one on the main page is the moving average. The Report chart are peak readings at that hour. Just saw the 300 then it dropped back to 200 in the next hour and just before it it was 219. Suspect a glitch or someone lit up a cigarette next to the machine. biggrin.png

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http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/02/04/rubber-planting-and-military-state-making-military-private-partnerships-in-northern-burma/

A lot of the fires on the map seem to correspond with border areas over in Burma and Laos. Not unlikely this has something to do with the Chinese push for large agribusiness in these areas. See article above.

20 years ago you had burning in the hills and people even burnt their rubbish in the city but you never had a dense smoke haze such as this.

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When I pull up the "Manual Report" for Chiang Mia City Hall from the Aqmthai.com website I'm getting far different readings then the chart on the home page.

No wonder my lungs ache.

The one on the main page is the moving average. The Report chart are peak readings at that hour. Just saw the 300 then it dropped back to 200 in the next hour and just before it it was 219. Suspect a glitch or someone lit up a cigarette next to the machine. biggrin.png

The 24hr average for Lamphun (a68) is 194. That's not very far away :(

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Had there been any doubt that Thailand itself is a significant part of the problem (a supposition being that Myanmar and Lao were mostly to blame), the satellite plus overlay (thanks!) certainly dispels it.

Only carrots will work. Villages must have mechanized equipment to replace fires' job, and farmers some benefit from using that gear. Schools to teach agribusiness and longevity. What has Viet-Nam done, I wonder??

Edited by CMX
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There is a reaction from the authorities .... hasn't anybody seen it ...?? They are so wonderful... anyway here it is =

CHIANG MAI: -- Smog has been widespread across the northern provinces, particularly Chiang Mai Province. The air quality is lower than the clean air standard index, and the public health department is now preparing masks.

Chiang Mai Province has been covered with heavy smog caused by fires for weeks. According a report from the Pollution Control Department, air pollution has measured at 129 points, which was higher than the pollution standard by 100 points.

Yesterday, the air quality index was at 109 points. Meanwhile, dust particle index should not exceed 10 micron or PM 10, but it has been gradually increasing.

Deputy Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Official, Surasing Wisarutrattana, said regarding the wildfire causing heavy smog and dust in Chiang Mai Province, that if there is no rainfall within 2 to 3 days, the dust density level may reach above the standard, at 120 micrograms per cubic meter. Furthermore, it may affect people with respiratory problems.

Surasing affirmed that officials are helping by preparing masks for local residents. All of the hospitals and related agencies have been ordered to prepare to relocate locals out of the areas if the situation worsens.

Meanwhile, Lampang, Lamphun, Phayao, and Phrae provinces are facing the same pollution problem. The dust density PM 10 was above the 120 micrograms per cubic meter, which is also higher than the standard index.

BUT HEY ...let's not stop the daily burning or do anything about that ... !!! Provide masks ... That will solve the problem .... Wild fires....??? Pffff!! ... What rubbish once again .... There was 1 in the past 2 weeks.... 1...!!

That map should be posted everywhere on the internet,it is a disgrace that this is going on here in Thailand so long with very little action from from the authorities.Forgt the terrorist warnings,this smog is much more dangerous and to many more people,

Roll on the rain!

What action would you suggest?

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In Saraphi which is always the worst area for burning especially along the 121 ... no sign of sun other than a slight glow once in a while for about 5 min..... very gloomy and the worst I have seen in 5 years .... very depressing and really enough to make you hate the bloody authorities for not seing this or doing anything about it and being totally oblivious ... and more annoying is to see that the Thais themselves don't even seem to notice it or give a dam_n...! Shit what is wrong with these people !! Now is when they should be protesting and rioting but Duhhhh!!! One of the labor staff doing repairs on my property told me he couldn't sleep for 2 nights because of the heavy burning in his Moo Ban .... even with his mask on ... when I asked him what was he going to do about it all I got was a Blank Look ... !! Duhhh ... what can I do about it ....???!!!

Anecdotal, but today (Feb 17th) seems like the worst yet. No sign of the sun until 8.30 and as I write the scene outside has a sickly dull orange glow that reminds me of countless post apocalypse movies. Your reporter in Nong Hoi.

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Are you kidding ... I am living here for 5 years now and the burning keeps starting earlier and earlier every year ... Hell, it started in October 2011 here in Cm as soon as the flooding was over and there was no more rain .... not as bad as it is now but started then in any case.... previous years started only in Feb / March then became Nov , then became Nov/ Dec and now this year started in Oct and has now escalated till now and in a furious unseen way ... have not seen in 5 years the likes of it for the past 2 weeks ... it is in fact scary....!! I have guests here right now from Canada and they are just hacking away and find it so difficult to breathe to the point where I had to go out and buy Inhalers for them .... It is really bad !!!

First burn season in Chaing Mai and today is the first time I've seen it like this. Is THIS what it's like through the whole burn season, or is today worse than normal?

Also, where are you guys getting the satellite burn images?

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A lot of Thais understood from the "news" that the rainy season would be early this year hence early burning. But this is really beside the point , they shouldn't be burning anyway. It was kind of predictable after the wet year last year though, there's way more to burn.

The government officials are often the worst though and the only time when people think about is when its like this, as soon as the first rain comes it will be forgotten completely again.

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And the reason being ??? Thai Lungs can tolerate more pollution ...???

PM10 - 50ug/m^3 in 24 hour period for 35 times in a year.

This mean we are over the limit every year, no ?

European standards are not the same as Thailand standards as was pointed out in the initial post on this aspect.

Edited by annabel
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There is a basic underlying problem though, in that no one thinks its in their control to stop it. At the very least they should be having some kind of incentive on the village level for a smoke free zone.

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And the reason being ??? Thai Lungs can tolerate more pollution ...???

PM10 - 50ug/m^3 in 24 hour period for 35 times in a year.

This mean we are over the limit every year, no ?

European standards are not the same as Thailand standards as was pointed out in the initial post on this aspect.

rolleyes.gifjerk.gif

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Air unsafe in five northern provinces

The Nation

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BANGKOK: -- Five northern provinces are currently experiencing unsafe levels of minute dust particles in the atmosphere, according to the Pollution Control Department (PCD).

The particles referred to by the department are PM10 (particulate matter 10 micrometres) or smaller.

Lampang had the highest reading, at 235.3 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Safe levels of PM10 particles are considered to be 120 micrograms per cubic metre or less.

The four other provinces with seriously high levels of particles were Phrae (218.08 micrograms), Lamphun (192.1 micrograms), Phayao (123.5 micrograms) and Chiang Rai (123.5 micrograms).

"The excessive level of these small dust particles can affect the health of locals," Chukiat Pongsiriwan said yesterday in his capacity as head of Phrae's Natural Resources and Environment Office.

The PCD measured levels of small dust particles in the North yesterday as part of its airquality monitoring operations. To tackle the problem, the PCD called on authorities to prevent people from burning garbage, agricultural scraps and dry leaves.

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit said smoke from the fires could hurt locals' health. "It affects the heart, blood vessels, respiratory systems, skin and eyes," he said.

People in smokefilled areas should wear masks to cover their mouth and nose, Paijit said. "If you experience eye irritation or tightness in the chest, please seek medical help."

Lamphun Governor Surachai Khanarsa said he had declared 287 villages as forestfire control zones to prevent the fires from worsening air quality.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai public health chief Dr Wattana Kanjanakamon said large amounts of smoke in the air in his province had caused the number of patients to increase by 10 per cent this month.

"We have seen a higher incidence of respiratory problems," he said.

Although the amount of small dust particles was within safe limits in Chiang Mai, the threat was increasing, according to governor ML Panadda Disakul.

"We have prepared necessary measures. If the dust particles reach a critical level, we will ask the Agriculture Ministry to make artificial rain," Panadda said.

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-- The Nation 2012-02-18

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Haze in North exceeds safety standards

CHIANG MAI, Feb 18 – Haze pollution covering parts of Thailand's northern provinces is worrisome, with the particulate dust particle level rising over the safety standard with airports needing to turn on runways light to increase visibility for aircraft taking off and landing.

Supeera Laddachayaporn, head of the local environmental quality surveillance unit in Lampang, said that smog in the province is the more concern than other provinces in the region. Thick haze has blanketed the province for three days, contributing to the level of dust particles rising over the safety standard.

This year, the problem occurred sooner than in any other year, as it normally emerges around March. Outdoor burning in farming areas and roadside grassland has aggravated the haze pollution.

The Pollution Control Department’s air quality monitoring station reported tiny dust particles at 235.33 micrograms per cubic metre at the station near Lampang’s city pillar shrine and 211.30 micrograms per cubic metre at a public health centre in Mae Mo district.

In Phrae, the level is as high as 218.08, second to Lampang.

At Lampang Airport visibility was reduced to 1,000 metres. A 70-seat Bangkok Airways aircraft spent 40 minutes to land and the aviation control tower was forced to turn on the runway lights to increase visibility for pilots.

Chiang Mai International Airport applied the same measure due to poor visibility.

Chiang Mai Governor Panadda Diskul said that the problem of thick haze and forest fire has worsened. At noon on Thursday, the level of small dust particles was higher than the safety standard at 120 microns to 185.27 micrograms per cubic metre.

Although it dropped slightly on Friday to 162 micrograms per cubic metre, it is still above the standard limit and tended to rise further. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is over the safety standard for several days, posing a health threat to local residents, children, the elderly and hospitalised patients in particular, who were advised to avoid outdoor activities.

Low air quality was not only caused by forest burning but also by congested traffic and the dropping ozone level. The haze pollution also occurred in nearby provinces of Lampang, Phayao and Phrae. (MCOT online news)

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-- TNA 2012-02-18

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The air certainly got bad fast this year. I got up early yesterday morning in Mae Taeng and went for mountain bike ride on a beautiful trail on a ridge. There were several kilometers of burned forest where likely a lone person walked along setting fires as he went. Some of these folks live so far out that they don't have televisions or radios so they are unaware of any problem and I am sure this is the same in across the borders in the whole region. Let's hope for winds or rain.

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post-498-0-00710600-1329522982_thumb.jpg

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Are you kidding ... I am living here for 5 years now and the burning keeps starting earlier and earlier every year ... Hell, it started in October 2011 here in Cm as soon as the flooding was over and there was no more rain .... not as bad as it is now but started then in any case.... previous years started only in Feb / March then became Nov , then became Nov/ Dec and now this year started in Oct and has now escalated till now and in a furious unseen way ... have not seen in 5 years the likes of it for the past 2 weeks ... it is in fact scary....!! I have guests here right now from Canada and they are just hacking away and find it so difficult to breathe to the point where I had to go out and buy Inhalers for them .... It is really bad !!!

First burn season in Chaing Mai and today is the first time I've seen it like this. Is THIS what it's like through the whole burn season, or is today worse than normal?

Also, where are you guys getting the satellite burn images?

Why didn't you tell your guests to come some other time? Everyone who lives here knows that the end of February and all of March are the worst times.

Edited by mesquite
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Had there been any doubt that Thailand itself is a significant part of the problem (a supposition being that Myanmar and Lao were mostly to blame), the satellite plus overlay (thanks!) certainly dispels it.

Only carrots will work. Villages must have mechanized equipment to replace fires' job, and farmers some benefit from using that gear. Schools to teach agribusiness and longevity. What has Viet-Nam done, I wonder??

Post #78 talks of the four northern provinces being the worst effected areas yet the fire map at http://firefly.geog.umd.edu/firemap/ shows a fairly even distribution of dots across all of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, parts of Issan have a fairly heavy concentration of dots. It's fair to assum that CM suffers more than most because of the basin effect and perhaps because of the coal generation plant at Lampagn, but that same argument doesn't hold much water when considering the other northern provinces. Certainly, northern Thailand is partially responsible for the current high levels of pollution, but it's looking increasingly as though a larger percentage is imported. otherwise the entire country would be in the same predicament as CM is currently and that's not the case.

Edited by chiang mai
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There is a basic underlying problem though, in that no one thinks its in their control to stop it. At the very least they should be having some kind of incentive on the village level for a smoke free zone.

Why should they do that? It's their country and a foreigner's opinion on what the Thais should or shouldn't do means nothing. The foreigner's job is to bring money into the country. The only influence we have is voting - with our feet. I doubt anyone on this forum will move away from Chiang Mai. The smart people will leave for the burning season peak and then return sometime after Songkran.

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This is a picture of particulate (dust) build up after only a couple of days. I'd keep windows closed and fans blowing outwards.

Had weird chest pains lastnight, woke up this morning and realized why...We're breathing in this stuff....From Huay Kaew road

The air is worse than the Vog (volcanic fog) that we have in Hawaii.

n1y1b.jpg

Edited by KRS1
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That map should be posted everywhere on the internet,it is a disgrace that this is going on here in Thailand so long with very little action from from the authorities.Forgt the terrorist warnings,this smog is much more dangerous and to many more people,

Roll on the rain!

What authorities?

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That map should be posted everywhere on the internet,it is a disgrace that this is going on here in Thailand so long with very little action from from the authorities.Forgt the terrorist warnings,this smog is much more dangerous and to many more people,

Roll on the rain!

What action would you suggest?

Stop the burning.

Not that easy to change habits that have developed over hundreds of years. But also not impossible. It's people who are doing this - people are setting the forests and fields on fire. Those people can be stopped.

Driving in to the soi from Rt. 107 yesterday afternoon, there were these 4 or 5 military guys "cleaning" a small farming area. I stopped my car in gob-smacking awe, rolled down the window, stared for a minute, and ended up screaming at the top of my aching lungs for the __ckers to stop burning (2-3 mtr. flames!!!!). They just stared back at this extremely odd farang completely clueless!

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It appears that the Vietnamese are more advanced than Thailand and neighbors, at least from the point of view of no fires. (But also that the Chinese government not so.)

Perhaps northern Vietnam will become the next favourite for expats?

What the Vietnamese have is a penal system. In Thailand the only crimes that are pursued by the police are ones that concern drugs, weapons, and murder. Other than that, there are no crimes. So, when it comes to fires, and causing life threatening pollution, there are no authorities that are concerned, and if there were, there would not be anything they could, or would do about it. In Vietnam they pass a law, and if you violate it, you spend time in prison. Same with Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, etc. In Thailand you do as you please. And if you do get arrested, you come up with some cash, and then go home, and continue breaking the law. The system here is broken. But, nobody will admit it.

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The pollution in Chiang Mai is far, far worse than in Los Angeles, or Bangkok. Every time I am up there I marvel at how bad it is. Nothing seem to be done about it. Does anyone in power care? It is a great city, and a very nice area, and a terrible shame nobody is able of willing to do anything. All that would be required would be to pass a law preventing burning of crops, enforcing it, and jailing a few farmers. Word would get out quickly, and they would find another more ecologically sound way to clearing the crops, like most civilized countries do.

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Never mind Changmai , I have been suffering for 4 weeks in Bangkok with a Chronic cough and sneezing. The air in bangkok has a reddish haze. I noticed that the PCD Air Quality reports have stopped being published since the Air Quality got bad and I started coughing (typical cover up job I think). As a retired Pollution Control Engineer I have looked at the data on the PCD web site and I must say that I cannot believe the figures apart from those given by them for Din Daeng which seem more truthful.

I was thinking of moving from Bangkok perhaps to Changmai because I expected to Air Quality to be better, and it seems now that it is worse and even Hua Hin is affected. Is there anywhere where the air pollution is at a safe level in Thailand?

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