People in Mae Sai district of Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai are calling urgent for help to save them from being suffocated by PM2.5 dust.

Many “Save Mae Sai” signs were being displayed in public places in the district today (Saturday), as people in this scenic border town cry foul over the PM2.5 pollution problem, which is posing a serious threat to their health.

In Wiang Phang Kham sub-district, for instance, the levels of PM2.5 and PM10 in the atmosphere were measured at 367 and 447 microns respectively, driving the air quality index (AQI) in the district to 477.

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Meanwhile, the Pollution Control Department reported today that the level of PM2.5 in most of the 17 northern provinces was measured to range from 25 microns to 354 microns and the department has placed the 17 provinces, especially those sharing a common border with Myanmar and Laos, under close surveillance.

Information from the Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISDA) satellite, yesterday shows 3,088 hotspots in Thailand, compared to 9,748 hotspots in Laos, 6,352 in Myanmar, 879 in Vietnam, 652 in Cambodia and 27 in Malaysia.

In Thailand, most of the hotspots were concentrated in forests with 255 in farm areas, 156 in populated areas and 14 along highways. The largest number were in Mae Hong Son (547), Nan (280) and Chiang Mai (221).

According to the Pollution Control Department, people living in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phayao provinces have been advised to wear face masks for their safety.

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