BANGKOK – The air hanging over Thailand’s far north is so polluted, it’s drawn a visit from the prime minister to see in person what’s been called a severe health crisis.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha flew Tuesday to the city of Chiang Mai to see firsthand the pollution that’s been unusually bad and prolonged this year.
Northern Thailand has suffered severe seasonal haze for years, usually blamed on burning of forests in neighboring Myanmar. Worsening the problem this year are wildfires caused by a drier-than-usual dry season as well as Thai farmers and hunters clearing land.
Standard measurements of air quality have soared into the danger zone.
Prayuth handed out firefighting supplies and told local military personnel and firefighters that he came there because he wanted to show his support.