More than 300 hotspots have been detected in forests in Chiang Mai Province on Sunday and a member of the Anandamahidol Foundation Society has warned that air pollution in Thailand is expected to be worse this year than last.
Dr. Jain Charnnarong, a member of the society dedicated to solving the problem of PM2.5 in Thailand, said on Sunday that it is pointless for Thailand to blame its neighbours for forest fires this year because many forest fires in the country being caused by irresponsible villagers.
“One person starts a fire in a forest and the entire village suffers,” he said as he alleged that the arsonists are among the firefighting volunteers, adding that it is high time that efforts are stepped up to educate villagers about the impacts of starting forest fires to facilitate the hunting of wild animals or to burn farm waste.
The Environment and Pollution Control Office 1 reported that the levels of PM2.5 dust in the atmosphere in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son provinces range from 28 to 179 microns.
A total of 826 hotspots have been detected in the four provinces, including 375 in Chiang Mai, 139 in Chiang Rai, 173 in Mae Hong Son and 139 in Lamphun.
Bannaros Buaklee, an advisor to a non-governmental organisation focused on the improvement of air quality in Chiang Mai, said that only rain can help ease air pollution.
He cited a forecast by the Meteorological Department that a strong cold front from China, which is expected to cover Thailand’s north and north-east and the South China Sea from February 14th – 17th, will bring rain, hail and strong winds.
He said, however, that it will not bring heavy rain, but some rainfall which may ease the pollution problem temporarily.