As smoke from Indonesia’s annual forest conflagration spreads over the kingdom to choke the Thai south this week, air pollution there has reached hazardous levels.
Complaints about eye and throat irritation are spreading along with the thick haze over Songkhla, Yala and Narathiwat provinces, where the air quality index this morning surpassed 151 to an “unhealthy” level at which all people “may begin to experience health effects.”
Everyone, especially children, are encouraged to limit outdoor exposure while those with respiratory diseases should stay indoors as much as possible. Those who experience health symptoms such as coughing, headaches, shortness of breath or nausea should immediately seek medical attention.
The annual smoke front is a persistent and pernicious problem brought on by out-of-control agricultural slash-and-burn practices that foul the air of Indonesia’s neighbors.
It’s especially bad in Songkhla, where the government has branded it the worst haze crisis in three years.
Online, people were sharing photos of the soupy skies they woke to.
“This morning in Songkhla, the haze from Indonesia is very thick. My eyes and nose hurt,” Twitter user @cookkai1 wrote early Friday.
เช้าของวันนี้ที่สงขลา หมอกควันจากอินโด หนามากอะ แสบตาแสบจมูกไปหมด pic.twitter.com/Ik2f26FQRt
— หมาเมิน (@cookkai1) September 20, 2019
The dust is so thick in Songkhla I can’t see much. So many people say their nose and throat is hurting,” @Fiaz_Kimj_E tweeted yesterday.
— 🧡บังทันคือความสุข🧡 (@FIAZ_KIMJ_E) September 19, 2019
Forest fires are raging on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, sending the choking over Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The toxic smoke has been made worse this year by particularly dry weather.
Making an oft-repeated yet unfulfilled promise, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said his government is “doing everything” it can to put out the fires. As well as firefighters on the ground, dozens of aircraft were being used to seed clouds and bomb blazes with water, and “we have also prayed,” he said.
Thoughts and prayers, always the sign of a sincere effort.
Watch Coconuts TV’s documentary explaining the scorching of Indonesia.