BANGKOK, Feb 4 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): The worsening air pollution in Thailand forced several schools in Bangkok to close, reported The Bangkok Post.
Fourty-three provinces, including capital Bangkok and its suburbs, remained blanketed in smog on Friday.
The Bangkok Post reported that atmospheric PM2.5 ranged from 54-119 per cubic metre, forcing several schools in Bangkok and its surrounding areas to close temporarily.
Thailand’s safety limit is 50 microgrammes per cubic metre on Friday.
High levels of PM2.5 pose health risks, especially for people with chronic lung disease. The government advised people to wear face masks outdoors and consider working from home on Thursday and Friday.
The report added that Chulalongkorn University Demonstration Secondary School in Pathumwan district announced on Thursday that it would be closed on Friday due to concerns over the respiratory impact on its students.
Jindabamrung School in Khan Na Yao district took similar action in announcing a Friday closure and Monday reopening on its Facebook page. The Thawi Wattha district office also suggested that seven schools under the supervision of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in the district do the same.
The education ministry has set up coordination centres to monitor the PM2.5 situation in several provinces. Schools can exercise discretion in their decisions to close if the dust levels are found to be unsafe, according to the ministry.
A total of 376,165 people suffered from health ailments of some kind caused by air pollution this week, an increase of 163,491 from the previous week, according to the ministry. Of these patients, more than 165,000 suffered from respiratory diseases, 80,248 from skin diseases and 70,206 from eye inflammation.
Dr Narong Aphikulvanich, deputy permanent secretary for the ministry of public health, said that public health emergency operation centres have been set up in 14 provinces affected by PM2.5 to deal with the problem in a more systematic manner. Some of the provinces include Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
According to IQAir.com, Bangkok’s air quality index (AQI) of 198 as of 9am on Thursday, made it the third-most polluted city in the world.
The Thai capital was behind only Mumbai in India (AQI of 207) and Pakistan’s Lahore (202), reported Thai daily The Nation.
The smog eased on Friday, with IQAir.com registering an air quality index of 102 for Bangkok as of 9am.
The Thai Meteorological Department forecasted air pollution in the capital will reduce on Saturday with the arrival of stronger winds to disperse the smog. - The Nation Thailand/ANN