Well, it’s that time of the year again
when we all start discussing PM10 numbers and smog and there we all were
tentatively crossing fingers and toes as we headed into March and the smog
was slow to arrive. However, within two days it went from pretty decent air
quality to appalling air quality. Reports from the government state that
there are over 70 hotspots south of the city that have brought the haze so
quickly. I realize they have enlisted the support of Royal Rainmaking
aircraft to not only make rain but fight fires. Let’s all hope that they are
fighting the fires.
To be fair, we at the Chiang Mai Mail have received nearly daily reports
from the provincial government on the haze situation when the numbers first
started spiking sharply. They are holding meetings with the relevant
agencies but the one thing that is not clear is precisely what they are
doing to put those fires out. The Governor has stated there will be strict
enforcement of the law and that people who start fires will be fined. But is
someone out there actively arresting fire starters? Is someone out there
actively putting these fires out?
I understand that a lot of our smoke comes from elsewhere and trickles into
the bowl that is Chiang Mai, Lampang certainly had it bad for quite a long
time before Chiang Mai and I can’t help but wonder if it just took its time
to trickle into Chiang Mai and it is not only our own burners but those in
neighboring provinces as well. If this is true then enforcement needs to be
not only in Chiang Mai but Lampang and Phayao both of which are seeing PM10
numbers upward of 190, if we are to see any improvement here.
I have to confess it boggles the mind that this choking haze occurs annually
and is a direct result of burning and yet people still burn. Education and
publicity has been widespread so it cannot be that they do not know or do
not understand, perhaps it is just that these people who set the fires
simply do not care that they not only damage their own health but that of
their families, neighbors and everyone else.