Pattaya residents were advised to stay indoors and wear masks outdoors due to dangerous air quality.
Deputy Mayor Manote Nongyai said levels of particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller have been at hazardous levels for almost a week. While the situation eased slightly on Feb. 2, air quality remains at unhealthful levels, he said.
The bad air – which reached a dangerous 161 micrograms per cubic meter of air at one point – stems from illegal burning of agricultural fields in Thailand and neighboring countries and is exacerbated by vehicle emissions and dust from construction sites.
Manote said the city has taken what steps it can to reduce pollution by limiting heavy trucks and requiring construction companies to tamp down dust, but the core problem is beyond the city’s control.
Residents are advised to refrain from outdoor exercise, stay indoors when possible and wear protective masks outdoors. PM 2.5 pollution, blanketing the country, can cause a range of health problems.