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Jakarta Post

Bangkok smog prompts Thai Premier to warn people to wear masks

  • Suttinee Yuvejwattana


Bangkok, Thailand   /   Mon, September 30, 2019   /   07:38 pm
Bangkok smog prompts Thai Premier to warn people to wear masks A woman wears a face mask on the way to work while smog blankets Bangkok on January 14, 2019. Thai authorities are set to deploy rain-making planes to combat the pall of pollution that has shrouding the capital in recent weeks. (AFP/Romeo Gacad)

Smog descended on Thailand’s capital on Monday, leaving Bangkok with some of the worst air in the world and prompting the premier to warn people to wear masks.

Bangkok ranked in the top five globally for pollution in major cities at noon local time Monday, data from monitoring firm IQAir AirVisual showed. Some officials said the haze thickened because weather patterns had curbed wind.

Pollution spikes caused by industrial emissions, construction, crop burning and vehicle fumes have rattled Thailand in recent years. The smog was one of the top trending topics in the country on Twitter, underlining growing concern as officials struggle to control the problem.

Prime Minster Prayuth Chan-Ocha took to Twitter to tell people to don masks if they plan to undertake activities outside, and asked factories and building sites to cooperate by curbing smoke and dust.

The Pollution Control Dept. said PM2.5 levels exceeded acceptable levels in many parts of the metropolis. PM2.5 refers to the tiny, toxic particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Southeast Asia in the past few weeks suffered from poor air quality caused by Indonesian forest fires, but hot-spots there have dwindled.

The episodes of smog in Thailand haven’t damaged tourism so far. However, worsening haze could pose a challenge for an industry that’s key to economic growth.