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Chiang Mai, A Paradox

Chiang Mai is the largest city in the mountainous region of Northern Thailand. A land of misty mountains and colorful hill tribes, it is a much sought after destination for the travelers. It is a beautiful relaxed place where you can forget about your mundane stuff and relax and explore its beautiful surroundings. It has a famous Night Bazaar which is very engaging. The National Museum and The Botanical garden are great places to visit in Chiang Mai.

However, it is shocking to learn that Chiang Mai now ranks sixth in the world’s worst air pollution levels. It’s a paradox. Here on one hand this place is a traveler’s destination for its laid back, picturesque and mountainous terrain and yet it is in the list for worst air pollution.

What is the reason for these serious levels of Air pollution? From February to May, during the spring farmers’ allover Thailand enthusiastically burns the remaining stubbles of their fields for new plantations. This agricultural burning releases particulate matter into the air and it reaches unacceptable and unsafe levels. With its neighbor Myanmar and Indonesian farmers doing the same, it all combines together to create a very unhealthy concoction for the residents of Northern Thailand. There are reports of strikingly increased rate of people visiting hospitals and doctors due to respiratory problems, pneumonia and asthma.

The local authorities have imposed fire bans and penalties if caught violating to curb the dangerous levels of smog. People are advised to stay indoors and advised to keep the doors and windows tightly closed.


By: Madhuchanda Saxena


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