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Haze from Indonesian fires reaches southern Thailand

Haze from Indonesian fires reaches southern Thailand

Residents in Thailand seen wearing face masks. (Image: AP)

HAT YAI: The southern Thai provinces of Yala and Songkhla have been hit by haze from Indonesia's forest fires, with the PM2.5 air quality readings there exceeding the safety level of 50.

According to the Pollution Control Department on Thursday (Sep 19), the PM2.5 level in Hai Yai, Songkhla was at 77 microgrammes (mcg) per cubic metre of air, the highest of the nine southern provinces being monitored by the agency.

The PM2.5 reading was 59 in Mueang District in Yala province. 

These numbers were an improvement from Wednesday, when the readings hit 100mcg, double the designated safe limit in Thailand. 

READ: Commentary: Air pollution’s nasty effects should motivate stronger action but hasn’t

Haze Watch for Southern Thailand, an air pollution research centre in Songkhla, urged residents in Songkhla, Satun, Yala and Pattani to refrain from outdoor activities, reported Associated Press. 

Health officials in Yala were also seen handing out free masks to people on the streets. 

Some residents in Thailand have been warned of the haze from Indonesia. (Image: AP)

READ: Cutting through the haze: When do you need an N95 mask?

READ: Firefighters on frontline of Indonesia’s peatland blaze face uphill battle

Thai authorities said the level of air pollution has risen since Sep 5, but worsened in the last few days 

Illegal fires to clear land for agricultural plantations are blazing out of control on Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands, with Jakarta deploying thousands of security forces and water-bombing aircraft to tackle them.

The forest fires have also affected Malaysia and Singapore. 

Malaysian authorities were forced to close hundreds of schools in recent days, while Singapore's air quality remained at unhealthy levels.

Source: CNA/aa(gs)


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