It’s officially burning season here in Chiang Mai. The farmers in the countryside are burning off their fields for a very rational reason that I don’t know (something about rice fertility) and because CM is in a valley, the smoke gets trapped; since there’s no rain this time of year, all those schnasty particles keep floating around in the atmo causing mass hysteria among prospective tourists. Seriously. People in the forums I follow are panicking and talking about scrapping their international travel plans.
We’re just getting started, but so burning season isn’t that bad. We’ve been hovering in the 60s-80s in air quality, which is considered moderate.
I see the reason for the panic, given that most of the U.S. is all green all the time. My home town is hovering at a crisp, fresh 28 right now.
But compared to the rest of Asia????
Since I’m sitting pretty over here with zero allergies or respiratory concerns, burning season is no big deal until it gets a lot worse than this. Which it will, but I’ll wear a mask and cope if/when that happens.
My bigger concern? Noise pollution.
I was sitting at my desk this morning and a buzz saw ripped into action across my alley at 8 a.m. In the few moments the saw paused I heard: several jets taking of and landing; a gong being pounded to death; at least two Thai advert trucks stuck in traffic, blaring songs and slogans; some sort of concert down the road with call and response action and rolling applause; the daily chorus of screeching breaks; and more motorcycles revving/drag-racing/breaking the sound barrier than I care to count.
Not exaggerating. Needless to say, I left the ranch to go sit at a cafe.
I’m not moving out by any means (not when the milk tea situation is so on point) but if I were ranking my annoyances, I’d put the noise pollution way above the environmental kind. Case in point: it’s Friday night, so I have to wear earplugs or I’ll get woken up by late-night karaoke…but I’m still keeping my window open.