The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Thick air in Chiang Mai: extreme smog in popular tourist city

Thick air in northern Thailand: The world-famous temple city of Chiang Mai once again ranked top of the list of cities with the worst air pollution in the world on Friday - well ahead of Kathmandu and Beijing. The air quality was classified as "very unhealthy" by the Swiss company IQAir. The "Rose of the North", which is popular with tourists from all over the world, has been shrouded in a toxic haze for days, as the newspaper "Khaosod" reported.

The main reason for the extremely harmful levels of particulate matter is slash-and-burn agriculture in Thailand, but also in neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. At the end of the dry season, farmers burn their fields to clear them of undergrowth and weeds. As a result, extreme air pollution has been a common occurrence between January and March for years.

In January, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin promised to tackle the problem with new laws - so far without success. The "Thai Enquirer" newspaper recently wrote that it was time to declare a national state of emergency due to the persistent smog. The head of government was expected in Chiang Mai on Friday afternoon (local time) to take stock of the situation.

©Keystone/SDA

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