Melb magazine, April 2014 edition
Many readers would be aware that the air quality in northern Thailand is often poor around March/April, with some years being worse than others. This year has been another bad one, and as it always does in the bad years, the government has promised tough measures to address the problem.
Thick haze has been blanketing the North for weeks now and has even forced the diversion of some flights Chiang Mai airport due to poor visibility. The Chiang Mai Natural Resources and Environment Office attributed the haze to a high pressure system covering the North and the continued burning of farm fields.
Meanwhile the governor of Chiang Mai has attracted criticism for asking reporters at a media conference to stop wearing facemasks because it was bad for the province’s image, and would alarm visitors. People were displeased that the governor appeared more concerned about the image of Chiang Mai than the health of its people. As many as 60,000 people in the North are said to be suffering from respiratory problems as a result of all the dust and smoke in the air.
Students wear facemasks to protect themselves from pollution in Chiang Mai. (Photo by Cheewin Sattha)
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