Haze problem in four border provinces
Four southern border provinces have been hard hit by smoke haze from peat forest and plantation fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra and Kalimantan with the situation in Songkhla most critical.
In Songkhla province on October 6, the air quality was measured at 171 microgramme/cubic metre which was beyond the 120 microgramme/cubic metre safety level. Pollution readings in the three other provinces were 144 mcg/cm in Yala, 141 mcg/cm in Satun and 121 mcg/cm in Pattani.
The four border provinces were blanketed in a thick layer of haze since October 6. The 16 regional environment office issued an advisory warning children, old people and those with respiratory problem to refrain from outdoor activities and to wear masks while going outdoor.
Face masks have been distributed free of charge to locals and tourist in the four provinces.
Mr Wongwit Akarawarothai, health official of Betong district of Yala, said that about 160 people with respiratory problem had been treated.
Rain in Yala in the evening of October 5 however eased the haze somewhat and the situation has slightly improved. But in Satun province which was completely blanketed in haze, rain did not help ease the situation at all and motorists had to switch on their headlights for safety’s sake.