Chiang Mai Air Quality Warning

Old Mar 12th, 2007, 10:36 PM
  #1  
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Chiang Mai Air Quality Warning

It has been in the local news for the past few weeks about the abnormally bad air quality around the Northern Provinces of Thailand and I just wanted to warn people who have immediate plans to visit CM or CR.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/topstorie....php?id=117386
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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It is really horrible at the moment. You can't see Doi Suthep and the setting sun is a golden orb.

Flights to Mae Hon Son have been disrupted, with lots of other flights affected also.

The Government either can't or won't do anything about it -- presumably the latter. They only thing they are doing is practicing rain making; a rain dance would be as effective.

Tourists are leaving in droves and I don't blame them. It rather looks as though we are stuck with this until April or May when we should get some rain.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 04:20 AM
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What is it, Tangata, that the govt should be doing? What is the cause of the abnormally bad air quality?

Please enlighten us.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 04:36 AM
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Hi Val--
I was planning on coming back to Chiang Mai next Febraury (end of month) and brining a friend who has never been there. It's the only time she can get away. I've been in chiang mai before in February and not had a problem. I can't imagine coming to Thailand and not going to chiang mai but have things gotten unbearable?
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Ouch. I was planning to be there in early April--I thought the burning season was over by then. Thanks for the info.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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When I was in CM in November, the air quality wasn't great. An ex-pat I met at Royal Flora told me that CM burns its trash, so it has more particulates in the air than Bangkok. My notes from a trip to CM some 20 years ago also indicate that the air was then worse in CM than in Bangkok (end of December in CM).
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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When I was in Chang Mai in late Jan.-early Feb. the air quality was really bad. I posted this warning in my trip report. This was the beginning of the burning season. I can't imagine how much worse it is now that the burning is more prevalent. I came home with a respiratory inflammation that took one month to clear. The pollution is one of the major reasons that will make me think twice about returning to Chang Mai, especially during the burning season.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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I've been to CM numerous times in Dec/Jan and never had a problem with the air -- of course I lived in NYC for 30 years so maybe I'm used to it. But it's been 15 years since I was there in Feb.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Chiang Mai air pollution is not usually this bad and I would say that this is perhaps the worst historically. It is like Los Angeles during the late 70s and early 80s very similar to a stage 3 smog alert.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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"What is it, Tangata, that the govt should be doing? What is the cause of the abnormally bad air quality?"

The major cause is farmers burning off old crops and in some cases clearing land by burning. The effects are exacerbated by a "low" and an inversion layer. The Government claims that it has no power to stop the burning.

Hi Gloria, glad that you are thinking of travelling again. The annual burn off is always a problem here in February/March but much worse this year because we have a low "stalled' over us and many farmers are changing crops, hence burning off more land than usual.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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There seems to have been a slight improvement.

This morning for the first time for about 10 days can see Doi Suthep.

However, the pollution is still bad.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 11:31 PM
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I received the following message today (March 16) from the US Embassy in Bangkok:

Warden Message
March 15, 2007
This message alerts American citizens living in or visiting northern Thailand to the need to take appropriate health-related precautions due to the unhealthful air quality northern Thailand is currently experiencing. Air quality experts report that excessive trash burning, brush clearing, forest fires and other factors have resulted in severe air contamination in the areas surrounding Chiang Mai. According to the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, air pollution levels in Chiang Mai have exceeded the maximum acceptable level since the beginning of March. On March 14, the level of particulate matter in the air exceeded the “emergency” level. Measurements at or near the “emergency” level are expected for at least the next several days.

Health professionals warn that during periods of unhealthful air quality, people with respiratory or heart disease, smokers, elderly persons, and children should avoid prolonged exertion and stay indoors when possible. In addition, everyone should limit activity and prolonged exertion, both indoors and out. This includes exercising in air conditioned fitness centers, since any additional strain on the respiratory system during periods of unhealthful air quality should be avoided.
Medical professionals also note that cloth masks or bandannas are generally ineffective in reducing smoke inhalation. In order for a mask to work, it must filter fine particles. More functional masks are available at pharmacies, such as the N95 respirator mask available for about 50-55 baht per mask. One size does not fit all. Please choose a correct fit and follow all instructions to ensure proper effectiveness. The recommended maximum use time for most respirators is 7-8 hours.
Day-by-day particulate matter (PM 10) and air quality statistics are available in English on the Pollution Control Department website at http://www.pcd.go.th/AirQuality/Regional/Default.cfm and at the consulate’s website, http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/consulcm/index.htm.

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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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It really does sound awful. I'm still going to plan on coming next Feb/March since I can't imagine being in Thailand and not going to CM but I may skip the rest of northern thailand. If it's awful when we get there I guess we'll either stay in Bangkok or try to get somewhere else for a few days.
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Please keep us posted-I was planning to go there the last 5 days of our month vacation end of October-Hope is clears up as everyone on this site made this area sound like a must see-Thanks all
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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I have been keeping a close watch on the air quality in the north as I am off to Chiang Rai in 1 week. The air quality seems to be improving quite quickly, the Air Quality Index has now improved from 180 on 14 March to 82 today (above 100 is considered hazardous, 50 -100 moderate and < 50 is good. A link to the official site is posted below.
http://www.pcd.go.th/AirQuality/Regi...?task=findsite
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Old Mar 20th, 2007, 11:45 PM
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Things seem much better today, courtesy I think of some wind yesterday.

Doi Suthep is quite clear and there is a hint of blue in the sky.
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