Bangkok Air Pollution Prompts Advice To Work From Home – Due to high levels of air pollution, Bangkok officials have advised residents to work from home and wear face masks. They also recommend using public transportation instead of personal cars, and will take steps to reduce pollution from sources such as outdoor burning and construction. Face masks will be provided to those in need.
The Bangkok governor, Chadchart Sittipunt, said pollution was expected to rise on Thursday but it did not require schools to be closed. “I would like to ask people to be prepared by checking the pollution level before planning a trip. The BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) and pollution department will control the sources of the dust and ask for cooperation from activities that generate dust such as construction sites or truck transportation,” he said.
He stated that if the situation were to become frustrating, restrictions on transportation would be considered due to agricultural burning and forest fires causing significant air pollution in Thailand, particularly in the northwest and affecting Bangkok, which has ongoing air pollution issues from factories, construction and traffic, primarily between December and April.
On Thursday morning, PM2.5 levels reached 63.2µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre), according to the Swiss air quality company IQAir – far higher than the WHO annual air quality guideline of 5µg/m³. Areas of Samut Songkhram, south-west of Bangkok, and Lampang, in the north, ranked worst in Thailand. Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the permanent secretary in the health ministry, announced that all public health services in provinces will closely monitor air pollution levels.
And further stated that emergency centers will be established in areas with sustained high pollution levels for over three days. The number of patients experiencing pollution-related health problems more than doubled to nearly 213,000 this week, from about 96,000 last week, Opas said. Most were experiencing respiratory tract problems as well as symptoms such as dermatitis or eye inflammation. Chadchart said the situation would be monitored closely throughout February and was expected to be better in March.