Thai authorities warned that continuing unhealthy levels of air pollution in northern Thailand are expected to persist throughout April due to forest and farmland fires. King Maha Vijaralongkorn, or Rama X, urged the government to take action and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha flew to Chiang Mai on Tuesday, April 2, to assess the situation. As of Tuesday, the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Mae Hong Son are recording "hazardous" PM2.5 levels of 300-600, far above the WHO standard of 25. Unhealthy conditions are expected to persist across northern Thailand until the rainy season begins in May, including the provinces of Lampang, Chiang Rai, Nan, Phrae, Phayao, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Tak.
Air Quality Index (AQI) is measured by PM2.5 and PM10 indices, which measure particulate levels of 2.5 or 10 micrometers in diameter. Exposure to high levels of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) can lead to various health issues, such as eye and skin irritation and headaches and may aggravate cardiac and respiratory conditions.
Northern Thailand regularly experiences high levels of air pollution during the dry season due to open burning and forest fires in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.
Individuals in northern Thailand are advised to monitor air quality index reports, limit outdoor activities, and use air filters and air conditioning when possible. Children and those with respiratory illnesses are advised to exercise additional precautions. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if experiencing breathing difficulties or other health concerns.
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