Pollution and Headaches in Chiang Mai?

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - General Discussion Forum' started by Steve Merchant, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Steve Merchant

    Steve Merchant Active Member

    I left my home this morning for the 20ks drive into Chiang Mai and the haze turned from off-white to brown as I neared the city. No fires out in the country as far as I know but all the way into town I picked up more and more traffic. Cars, SUV's and pick-ups tailed back at every junction and traffic light, and stationary in the town center. I was about 3 hours going to different stores, shops, market and post office. As the morning wore on I was aware of the awful heat and pollution for a bike rider stuck out amongst the lanes of cars waiting for a green light. My eyes started to water, my head ached and I could taste the fumes in my mouth. I know the heat doesn't help but a day like today with no breeze, no rain, nothing to move the exhaust really brings home how much we are spoiling our lovely environment. And don't even get me started on the huge amount of household rubbish dumped along all the highways out near Doi Saket. Always loved being on a bike for the fresh air. Anyone else getting sick like this or am I just a wimp? Maybe its time to move farther out in the sticks.
  2. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

    No - you are not on your own. But out in the sticks they still tend to try & burn anything that will set alight! A lot of dedicated pyromaniacs & budding arsonists.
  3. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    These « man made » disasters are sad, as sad as the Songkran road casualties statistics (mostly young motorcyclists). It's not only for us visitors, who have the choice to leave or at least have chosen to stay in the smog, but for locals without possibilities to escape. Chiangmai is the province with the highest rate of lung cancer. The problem is widely known and acknowledged. The consequences, in term of lost lives, reduced living quality and economic loss generally, is hardly evaluated by someone.

    Actions are on the way … but : « It may take years - even decades - for northern Thailand's burning issues to be resolved. » Ref. an interesting report in Chiangmai News http://www.chiangmainews.com/ecmn/viewfa.php?id=2832

    The solution is for the long run … and, remember JM Keynes, "In the long run, we are all dead"

    Help certainly needed, but big road boards probably not enough ! (Maerim intersection)

  4. Steve Merchant

    Steve Merchant Active Member

    Its me again. Took my wife to Ta Thon on Friday and chose to go from Doi Saket via the 118 to Mae Suai then the 109 to Fang and on from there. The route via the hot sping and Mae Kachan was smoky enough but it looks like the Lahu as you climb the hill outside of Mae Suai are conducting a scorched earth policy. The hills are barren, all trees removed and the grass and weeds have been burned. Its like a scene from some nightmare Vietnam war movie where the world has been napalm bombed. It seems like some villages have started the task of planting rubber trees which is being touted as their route to riches. Maybe they need to drop in on some of their poor Southern countrymen! On the drop down towards Fang there was a bit more greenery and life but by the time I was on the Fang bypass my eyes were stinging and the smoke had cut visibility to 600m. Not sure what was out there. Took a day trip to Mae Salong yesterday and there were patches of fire but air quality improved as we climbed the hills probably due to wind created in the mountains. The Chinese Haw don't seem to burn fields to the same degree as the Lahu and Lisu. Some nice new patches of road surface going up from Ta Thon to Mae Salong but if you are headed that way be aware that they suddenly give way to old, crumbling, gritty surfaces so you need to be alert. Coming back solo early this morning to avoid the water chucking the air quality via Chai Prakarn and Chiang Dao was quite good. And again some lovely new road surface as you near Chiang Dao. And now the bane of being a full time motorbike rider comes with the arrival of Silly Songkran. 8 days at least of being soaked with ditch water if you venture out between 10 and 7. Its the only time I look at car occupants with some envy.

Share This Page