In 2013 the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made a special effort to curb the annual smoke haze problem which affects thousands of northern Thai residents and visitors during March and April.
The campaign headed by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop failed to improve the situation despite a 90 day fire ban, which was mostly ignored. This year the same ban is in place, the same ineffectual fire break strategy is in place, the bans are ignored and the only difference appears to be the absence of political leadership, with ineffectual activities being coordinated by civil servants.
Fine particulate pollution PM10 has been above the government designated 120 microgrammes per cubic metre (ug/m3) danger level at the Lampang, Phrae, Payao and Nan monitoring stations, that is in all provinces to the East of Chiang Mai for several days as of 9th March.
Last year pollution levels peaked in Lampang before Chiang Mai where the reading at the Mae Rim government centre was 90 (ug/m3) Sunday. Mae Hong Son, which in most years records the highest PM10 readings remains healthier at present.
As we did last year, we advise the evacuation of children from polluted areas, but regret that the government has announced no plan to protect children’s health during the current emergency.