AN air quality website today (March 4) sounded an alert that the air in many parts of northern and western Thailand is not suitable for breathing due to particulate matter of no more than 2.5 microns (PM 2.5) being several times higher than the acceptable value of below 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air, Sanook.com reported.
The website, AQICN.org, said the air quality index at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Medicine showed at noon today it was 192 or purple.
At the sametime at Mae Chan Hospital, Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai province, the air quality index was 163 or red.
At Thanyarak Hospital in Mae Hong Son province the figure was as high as 357, or brown, which the AQICN.org website said is the level at which the government has to warn people that the air is toxic for breathing and all outdoor activities must be avoided.
The air quality meter within the Special Unit Infantryman Department 4 at Mae Sot district, Tak province, also gave a high reading with this reaching 194 or purple.
Over the past several days motorists passing through Highway numbers 1 and 11 saw forest fires at many points such as at the junction of Thoen and Sop Prap districts in Lampang province and at Mae Tha district in Lamphun province where these fires were right next to the road.
This does not include fires raging deeper in the forests.
Top: A map showing areas that are heavily polluted today. Thai headline says, “How will northerners breath.” Photo: Sanook.com
Below is an air quality index scale and colour legend from US Environmental Protection Agency.