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Friday, October 9, 2015

Haze in the South 'easing' #Thailand

Particulate measurements within safe limits in 7 provinces

 NEWS that the dire haze situation in the South has improved comes as the government launched numerous measures aimed at easing the impact of the problem on people and businesses.

The Royal Thai Air Force has even sprayed water over hard-hit densely populated areas of Songkhla province in a bid to protect the health of people.

The smog has played havoc in the Southern region for many days, as winds brought smoke from Indonesia's bush fires.

"Now, the overall haze problem has eased," Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.

He said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was worried about the haze's impact on people and had instructed relevant agencies to tackle the problem seriously.

The urgent measures are rainmaking operations, water spraying, the distribution of facial masks, and discussions with Indonesia over the problem.

The amount of particulate matter up to 10 microns in size (PM10), Sansern said, had not exceeded the safe limit of 120 micrograms per cubic metre of air in Surat Thani, Phuket, Songkhla, Yala, Narathiwat, Satun and Pattani as of press time yesterday.

Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said the haze situation in his province had shown signs of improving. He said there had not been any more flight delays because of poor visibility after 24 flights to and from Phuket were delayed between 6am Thursday to 6am yesterday.

Suratin Lianudom, a former mayor of Tambon Rassada Municipality, yesterday lodged an open letter with the Indonesian president via the provincial Phuket authority demanding that Jakarta pay serious attention to preventing the haze problem.

"Smog has affected the normal lives of people," he said in the letter.

Suratin said many tourists had been unable to connect with flights back to their home countries in time because of haze-caused flight delays.

Many children and elderly people in Phuket had developed health problems because of the haze, he said.

Yesterday, haze delayed at least four flights at Krabi International Airport, while Ranong Hospital deputy director Dr Arun Sattayapisan said the number of patients at the hospital had jumped by more than 30 per cent in the past few days because of the smog.

"Ranong doesn't have a station to check air quality. So we really don't know whether the air quality has dropped dangerously," he said.

Source: The Nation