Airborne dust levels in North reach critical point

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LAMPANG, March 26 – A record level of dust has enveloped this northern province since yesterday, with an increasing number of people seeking medical treatment for respiratory ailments.

The Pollution Control Department reports that measurements of the dust volume at four stations in Lampang found excessive levels of dust particles which are hazardous to public health.

At the Health Promotion Hospital in Mae Moh’s Thasi subdistrict, the dust level was 351 microgrammes/cubic metre (mg/cm)– the highest in the province this year, more than double the standard 120 mg/cm.

At three other locations, dust particles were measured at 251 mg/cm at the Meteorological station in Lampang provincial seat, 246 mg/cm at Mae Moh waterworks station, and 244 mg/cm at the Health Promotion Hospital in Mae Moh’s Sob Pad subdistrict.

Some patients sought treatment at hospitals for breathing and respiratory problems while some residents borrowed oxygen tanks from the provincial authorities for breathing.

The oxygen in an oxygen tank lasts 4-10 days, and many people have asked provincial authorities to allocate a special budget to buy oxygen tanks to relieve the people’s health complaints.

Haze and dust also covered the adjacent province of Chiang Mai where the dust level was measured at 193 mg/cm. There are about 100 hot spots in the province and the authorities sprayed water into the air to create humidity and bring down the dust.

In the Upper North in Chiang Rai, dust particles were measured at 204 mg/cm. More than 1,000 people have been admitted to hospitals each day.

Dust levels were measured at 191 mg/cm in Phayao and 256 mg/cm in Phrae.