The Ministry of Public Health has urged companies to consider allowing their employees to work from home in response to a recent drop in air quality, which has affected as many as 1.4 million people.
According to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, an operations center has been established to monitor air quality nationwide. The public is also encouraged to protect against PM 2.5 and pollutants by remaining indoors or wearing masks when outside.
Minister Anutin noted that private sector employees working from home will mean fewer vehicles on the road and reduced emissions and air pollution. He also announced the launch of electric buses in the capital to help improve overall air quality.
According to the Bangkok Medical Service Department, from January 1 to March 10, over 31,000 people sought medical assistance for problems that were exacerbated by poor air quality. These included chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, eczema, stroke, and conjunctivitis or pink eye. Other reported conditions included pneumonia, bronchitis, pharyngitis, nasal cryotherapy, asthma, influenza, ischemic heart disease and lung cancer.
According to the Air Quality and Noise Management Division Bangkok, PM2.5 levels are predicted to continue rising until March 20. However, starting March 16, a southerly wind is forecast to prevail over Bangkok and its neighboring regions, providing much-needed relief and improving the smog situation. (NNT)