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Dirty air in Laos, Thailand casts pall over health, tourism

Southeast Asian nations now have world's worst particulate concentrations

The city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand under a haze of air pollution on April 9. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

BANGKOK -- Air pollution, mostly from forest fires and slash-and-burn farming, continues to plague Southeast Asia, with PM2.5 particulate concentrations among the highest in the world in some areas.

The region's noxious air is damaging people's respiratory health and casts a pall, literally and figuratively, over the economically vital tourism industry, which is struggling to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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