Chiang Mai’s air quality has been steadily
deteriorating over the past ten years. This is, in part, seen in every city
that intends to increase its economic growth, without considering the
smoke and emissions from vehicles.
What are the sources of particulate matter pollution in
Chiang Mai? One obvious answer lies in the prevalence of burning in the
city, be that cremations, or just burning off garbage, forest fires or
vehicular emissions. Add to that dusts raised during building and
Chiang Mai City’s problems are exacerbated by the fact
that the city is located in a natural bowl that results in the same air
being re-circulated, picking up more particulates every time.
in front of Yupparaj School informs the public about air pollution levels.
The Pollution Control Department revealed that in front
of Yupparaj School on March 11, they recorded 250 micrograms of matter under
10 micron (1 micron was equal to 1/1,000 of the diameter of a human hair)
per cubic meter, while the world ‘acceptable’ level was not greater than
120 microgram per cubic meter in 24 hours. Chiang Mai city levels are double
the ‘safe’ level set by US Environmental Protection Authority.
garbage is subject to the Public Health Bill.
It does not end there. According to the research study by
Assoc Prof Dr Utsanee Winichkhetkamnuan and Dr Karmen, the expert from
Fulbright, USA, it was found that some places in the city such as at Waroros
market and Thapae Road have dusts four times higher than that level.
electric car belonging to Chiang Mai Municipality may help reduce air
pollution caused by the vehicle emissions.
Air pollution can be called the ‘Silent killer’ and
affects all Chiang Mai residents’ health without their realizing it. Prof
Sumittra Thongprasert claims that the incidence of lung cancer in Chiang Mai
is ranked second highest in the world. In addition, admissions for
respiratory problems has almost doubled in the past eight years.
caused by the road improvement and construction work in the city.
Chiang Mai residents should be made aware of the problem
and should not continue to burn their garbage as it impacts on all Chiang
Mai residents. However, the Public Health Bill of 1992 was passed to cover
this. Any person who violates the bill can be imprisoned for up to six
months or fined up to 10,000 baht or both and will be fined 5,000 baht each
day if they continue polluting the environment.
garbage causes air pollution.
Measures to counteract the problem includes ensuring
factories are not releasing their waste into the atmosphere, and local
administrative organizations should find other ways to dispose of garbage
such as turning it into fertilizer.
If successive CEO Governors and all of us still have to inhale polluted
air day after day, we will not live long enough to see Chiang Mai being
turned into “The City of Life and Wealth”. Chiang Mai’s image as
“the City of temperate climate season and beautiful women” will soon
fade away in the cloud of pollution. When that time comes, it will be too
late to revitalize the city we allowed to choke to death.