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Chiang Mai Implements 3-Day Work-From-Home Policy to Combat PM2.5

Chiang Mai Implements 3-Day Work-From-Home Policy to Combat PM2.5

Chiang Mai Governor Nirat Phongsitthaworn issued a provincial announcement on Monday, implementing measures for three days from April 9 to April 11 to address the persistent exceedance of PM2.5 levels and reduce its impact. The measures include a work-from-home directive for all government agencies and a request for businesses to consider adopting this operational method for their employees.

Chiang Mai, particularly in six districts including Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, Chai Prakan, Fang, and Phrao, has faced severe air pollution issues resulting in it being ranked as one of the most polluted cities globally for several consecutive days. In response, the Governor declared the area a disaster-affected zone on April 6 and designated specific assistance areas for those affected by forest fires and emergencies.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has emphasized the government’s active involvement in addressing the PM2.5 crisis in the north, urging collaborative efforts from all stakeholders. Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew and Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thai-saed have been tasked with providing assistance, particularly in Chiang Mai.

The detrimental health effects of forest fires and pollution, particularly PM2.5, have raised serious concerns, with cases of lung cancer among non-smoking individuals like Prof. Dr. Raviwan Olanratmanee and others highlighting the urgency of the situation. With a historical problem of PM2.5 persisting in the northern region for over a decade, the healthcare system has experienced increased pressure, evident by rising hospital patient numbers during dust outbreaks.

Research examining lung cancer death rates in different regions from 2010 to 2021 reveals higher mortality rates in northern provinces like Chiang Mai and Lampang. Dr. Sakarn Bunnag indicated that the north sees a significant number of new lung cancer cases annually, with PM2.5 identified as a risk factor among several contributing factors to the disease. The situation underscores the need for comprehensive measures to address air quality issues in the region.

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