According to officials, air pollution in Thailand has caused close to 200,000 hospital admissions this week, and Bangkok has been enveloped in a dangerous haze.
The capital city of Thailand, which is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world and is home to an estimated 11 million people, has been covered in an awful yellow-gray haze of exhaust fumes from vehicles, industrial emissions, and agricultural fire smoke for days.
According to the public health ministry, air pollution has caused over 1.3 million illnesses in the country since the beginning of the year, with roughly 200,000 individuals being admitted to hospitals this week alone.
The ministry’s doctor, Kriangkrai Namthaisong, recommended pregnant women and children to stay inside on Wednesday.
He went on to say that anyone going outside should put on a good N95 anti-pollution mask.
City officials recommended individuals to work from home during a second pollution peak in late January and early February.
In the event that the situation worsened, the governor of Bangkok, Chadchart Sittipunt, who was elected last year on promises to enhance the city’s ecology, said they would not hesitate to issue another similar order.
According to Aekvarunyoo Amrapala, who spoke to AFP, city-run nurseries have installed special “no dust rooms” with air purifiers to safeguard small children as well as checkpoints to monitor car emissions.
The most harmful PM2.5 particles, which are so small they can enter the bloodstream, were found in 50 Bangkok districts on Wednesday at unacceptable levels, according to the public health ministry, although on Thursday they were still significantly above WHO recommendations.
During the previous three days, most of Bangkok’s PM2.5 levels have been above safe levels, according to the government’s pollution control department.
In the northern city of Chiang Mai, which is located in an agricultural area where farmers burn crop stubble at this time of year, the situation was worse.
The well-known tourist destination was listed as the third-most polluted city in the world by monitoring company IQAir around noon (0500 GMT).
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