Air Pollution Soars in Bangkok

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BANGKOK, Jan 7  – The authorities reported the volume of the fine dust particles reached a level considered as having a negative impact on health in 17 districts as of Tuesday morning, increased from eight districts yesterday.

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The levels of PM2.5 pollutants in the capital were measured between 39-62 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) and 53 (µg/m³) on average, exceeding the safety standard at 50 (µg/m³).

Meanwhile, Tuesday morning’s Air Quality Index (AQI) in Bangkok was 156, according to the popular website airvisual.com. The AQI is considered “unhealthy” when the level is above 150.

The Pollution Control Department yesterday convened a meeting to follow up the action plans to curb dust particles as the Meteorological Department forecast worsening situation from Jan 6-11.

High pressure system, covering the upper part of the country has weakened, leading to calm wind in the morning. This condition will make pollution more concentrated near the surface, said Deputy Director General of the PCD, ThalearngsakPetchsuwan, who chaired the meeting.

He said traffic congestion in the capital after the New Year holiday is another factor that makes the level of fine particulate matter rising over the safety standard. The poor air quality is expected to last throughout this week.

The meeting was attended by officials from concerned agencies such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Department of Disease Control, the Highway Department, the Land Transport Department and the Department of Industrial Works.

The Department of Pollution Control and agencies concerned reviewed existing anti-dust measures and reinforce measures to handle the dust situation and alleviate impacts on people.

Besides controlling pollution emissions from vehicles by transport agencies, the Agriculture Ministry will find innovation for farmers to avoid burning crop residue and public health agencies will issue warning for local residents to protect themselves particularly vulnerable groups with respiratory diseases and the elderly.