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Thai PM to fly to North to find ways to alleviate worsening h

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BANGKOK, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The Thai government's deputy spokesman Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukondhapatipak told Thai media on Monday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will fly to the northern province of Chiang Mai on Tuesday morning to chair a meeting of upper northern provincial governors to discuss the haze problem which is wreaking havoc amongst residents.

Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukondhapatipak said PM Prayut is closely monitoring the haze situation in the upper North and will arrive at affected region to get first-hand information so as to find ways to alleviate the stress rendered upon the provinces.

The Pollution Control Department said the haze problem today was worse than yesterday with the level of PM2.5 dust particles increasing in all areas.

The deputy spokesman said that Thailand usually experiences worsening air pollution during the dry season as farmers tend to burn their paddy stubble at this time of the year.

Chiang Mai is also implementing measures to control wildfires which have covered a large area of its forests. The city has deployed water-spraying operations around the moat and the outer ring road to mitigate the haze in downtown Chiang Mai.

A safety zone is set up at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Center and in every district for people who seek shelter from the toxic air.

Phayao province is blanketed with smog caused by forest fires, and villagers have to wear masks to protect themselves from air pollution.

A forest fire broke out on March 30 at Ban Tham subdistrict in Phayao Province, causing thickening of the air.

The Pollution Control Department on Sunday registered a PM2.5 level to 243 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Moreover, the PM10 level rose to 277 micrograms per cubic meter, exceeding the safety standard.

The media also reported that firefighters at Phayao faced tremendous difficulties to put out the blaze due to steep hills and cliffs.

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