Chiang Mai air ‘world’s worst’

Chiang Mai air 'world's worst'

Young doc with lung cancer urges change

Chiang Mai continues to suffer from unhealthy levels of air pollution as authorities try to find solutions.

Chiang Mai yesterday was ranked the world’s most polluted city for the second day in a row by IQAir in its latest global index.

According to, Chiang Mai was reported to have an AQI of 212 in the morning and remained at the foot of its table with a reading of 180 in the late afternoon, while its PM2.5 level stood at 161.3 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), high enough to cause health complaints even among those not considered to be in an “at-risk” group.

Chiang Mai governor Nirat Pongsitthaworn said state agencies are deploying resources to fight the forest fires, which have been raging for about a week, blanketing parts of the city with smoke. However, stiff winds continue to blow smog into the city.

The Meteorological Department said thunderstorms expected to begin yesterday and last until at least tomorrow evening in the North will mitigate the fires and pollution slightly.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda) reported there were 569 hotspots across the 17 northern provinces, 13 of which were found in Chiang Mai.

Meanwhile, the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation conducted a rainmaking operation on Thursday in the North, covering Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun and Tak districts. The operation aimed to ease the forest fires and smog.

Dr Krittai Tanasombatkul, a 28-year-old lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University, wrote on Facebook that the government should endorse long-term plans to end haze pollution in Thailand.

He was recently diagnosed with extensive-stage lung cancer, potentially linked to the severe smog in Chiang Mai.

The young teacher said he had engaged in regular exercise, adopted clean eating, followed a healthy sleep schedule and has never smoked. He was diagnosed after developing a bad cough and breathing difficulties.

“I might not live long but the girl who walked past me when I had my radiotherapy yesterday should not share the same diseases that I have. Those kids should be provided with clean air. They’re not supposed to pay for it,” he wrote.

The capital’s air quality yesterday was ranked 8th worst in the world in the same IQAir index. The city placed 10th in the morning of yesterday before climbing to eighth place with an AQI of 145 later in the day.

The Public Health Ministry said 1,449,716 Thais have suffered pollution-related ailments since the beginning of this year. Some 31,695 of those patients live in Bangkok.