Heavy Air Pollution in the Greater Golden Triangle / Laos, Thailand, Burma, south China

Being in the north of Laos in the time from mid February to the start of the rainy season means suffering heavy air pollution. Particularly from March on the smog is so dense, that the sight is partially not clear of a distance of a few meters already. Landscapes disappear behind a wall of smoke. That’s due to heavy slash and burn activities committed by the peasants all around in the area, including north Thailand, bigger parts of south China and Burma/Myanmar. The eyes might burn, the nose dries out and the general well-being is affected; the whole surroundings look pretty apocalyptic. Even some locals confess that there is a problem, but the vast majority of the chicken brains here don’t take it serious and continue burning forest, bushes, harvested rice fields and litter of all kind, including plastic. In 2011 I saw a burning lorry tyre in a neighbourhood in Vang Vieng, a huge pillar of black smog rising up and creeping all around in the neigbouring gardens and houses, where the children played and people were around, where food was displayed and laundry on the clothesline.

The situation is worsened due to the massive traffic increase. In Luang Prabang‘s protected old part of town there is too much traffic, but outside this small place the traffic is meanwhile murderous. Masses of mostly brandnew motorbikes and above all big pickups like in Thailand are on the roads. The smog they emit and all the dirty dust they make up have another heavy impact on the air quality.

Read the whole article on ‘Air Pollution in the Golden Triangle and around

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