As Bangkok and other parts of Thailand battle dangerous levels of smog, officials are closely monitoring the situation in Hua Hin and the surrounding area. Concerned for people’s health and the potential impact on tourism, Prachuap Khiri Khan’s provincial governor Dr. Panlop Singhaseni has ordered all relevant departments to closely monitor air quality in the region. As a precautionary measure, transport officials across province have increased the number of traffic stops checking for vehicles which spew plumes of thick black smoke.
Any driver whose vehicle is found to fail a roadside emissions test faces having their license suspended for between 7 and 30 days, officials warned. The region’s pineapple factories have also been inspected to assess the environmental impact on people living nearby. Prachuap Khiri Khan is the country’s top pineapplegrowing province and home to Thailand’s pineapple processing industry. However, many of the regions 17 pineapple factories use imported coal as fuel for the heating processes.
Officials have now taken samples of the coal used at the factories to ensure the sulphur levels are within acceptable standards. Results of the samples tested will be available within one month, officials said. Finally, officials have urged farmers to refrain from burning off crops and rice fields in bid to reduce air pollution locally.
The measures come after large parts of Thailand have been blanketed by smog, with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen in Isaan and Phrae in northern Thailand, the worst affected. Officials have stressed that the air quality in Hua Hin and the surrounding area remains at safe levels and the recent haze witnessed in the area is the result of seasonal weather conditions.