Friday 14th March 2019

For the fourth consecutive day, Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand has been awarded the unsettling title of the world’s most polluted city, with air quality in the city center recorded at over 420 AQI.

Schools and universities across the city have been closed, to reduce the damage to students’ health, and residents are urged to remain indoors.

In the city’s department stores air purifiers have sold out of stock and PM2.5 face masks are selling out fast.

The dangerous air quality has been caused by the burning of crops across the plains of Thailand and forest fires in Thailand’s mountainous regions.

The images below indicate the extent of the burning across Thailand.

Unfortunately, officials appear uncomplete unable to bring the situation to an end, and are left waiting for a summer storm to wash the pollution from the air.

With the country’s first elections since the 2014 coup, this national crisis has come at a bad time for the junta who appear desperate to remain in power, with many undecided voters viewing the worst smog in years as yet another sign of Prayut’s inability to govern the country.

The only sign of respite has come from the metrological department, who forecast rain in the coming days.

Rain has been forecast for Sunday.

Daniel is an English Literature graduate from the University of London who has spent the past 20 years living and working in Southeast Asia. Passionate about education, health care, sustainable development, equality and human rights, Daniel is a regular contributor to Asian Correspondent, Ajarn, The Educator and Bangkok Post.

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