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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


It’s here – the smog has struck with a vengeance

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.

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It’s here – the smog has struck with a vengeance