Thailand has seen over 1 million residents getting sick from the smog engulfing the country this year, which is most likely caused due to farmers and households burning waste in Laos and Northern Thailand.
Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said “The PM2.5 [particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter] level has been over 51 micrograms per cubic meter [µg/m3] of air for more than three consecutive days in 15 provinces, which has begun to affect the people’s health.”
Around 1.3 million patients have suffered from air-pollution-related diseases this year in Nan, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Nonthaburi, and all 50 districts of Bangkok, says a recent news report.
Four districts bordering Laos – Muang, Bang Phaeng, Tha Uthen, and That Phanom – reported levels of PM2.5 at around 167 last week.
Nakhon Phanom residents woke up to a thick haze blanketing the area, saying that they were barely able to see the landscape of Laos across the Mekong river.
Any PM 2.5 levels above 50 micrograms per cubic meter are considered unhealthy, with long-term exposure linked to chronic diseases involving the heart and lungs.
Medical experts have warned locals to avoid exercising outdoors, along with wearing a protective mask when stepping out of the house.