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Public health ministry concerned over smog in 9 northern provinces

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The Ministry of Public Health has instructed provincial public health offices in nine provinces to closely monitor effects of smog caused by forest fires on health.
Public Health Minister MD Ratchata Ratchatanawin said the nine provinces were in the upper northern region, including Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Phrae, Nan and Tak. All hospitals in the provinces were told to prepared medical equipment and medicine for people affected by smog. The hospitals would dispatch rapid response teams to the areas with smog patients in order to assist them and reduce hazardous air pollutants, said the minister.

The local people are urged to not burn forests, grass, weeds or garbage in order to help decrease pollution in the air. 150,000 face masks have been handed out to people in the nine provinces.

The minister also warned that children, pregnant women, senior people and patients of respiratory and heart diseases should exercise extra caution during this period. They should keep abreast of air quality information and avoid inhaling smog. A face mask is highly recommended when dust pollution is over 120 micrograms/cubic meters.