Nearly 200,000 people hospitalized for air pollution in Thailand

Thailand’s health ministry said Friday that nearly 200,000 people had been hospitalized with pollution-related respiratory illnesses in the past week as heavy smog blanketed large swaths of the country.

The ministry said dangerously high levels of air pollution in Thailand have made more than 1.3 million people sick in Thailand since January, Radio Free Asia report.

“PM2.5 levels have exceeded 51 micrograms per cubic meter of air for more than three consecutive days in 15 states, and are beginning to affect people’s health,” said Surgeon General Opart Karnkauwinpong. says.

Karnkawinpong said air pollution levels in Thailand are higher this year due to increased traffic.

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can enter the lungs and cause serious health risks such as respiratory and cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Greenpeace Thailand activist Arya Mun Ob said the number of people sick due to air pollution could be “the worst we’ve ever seen”, and some in Thailand The city of Tokyo is enveloped in thick smog.

“In Chiang Mai, we could see mountains, but we can’t see them anymore. In Bangkok, skyscrapers are lost in the smog,” Moun-Ob told Radio Free Asia.

“This is the normal situation after COVID. That’s why this year is especially bad for Thailand. We also have less rain this year compared to last year,” she added.

The government has urged residents to stay indoors and wear face masks when leaving their homes. The country’s pollution control department advised people to use personal protective equipment when necessary.

non-flammable rule

Prime Minister Prayuth of Thailand last month imposed A three-month no-burning rule from February 1 to April 30 to curb wildfires and haze. He is now urging farmers to refrain from burning agricultural waste.

“Please, I don’t want to use the law. If it is used, we will break it. I don’t want to bother anyone, but I have to think about other people’s quality of life and health,” Prayuth said. I was.

The Pollution Control Department previously said “stagnation of weather conditions” was exacerbating vehicle emissions and seasonal fires on agricultural land. He urged people to reduce their outdoor activities.

The Thai city of Chiang Mai was ranked the second most polluted city in the world on Saturday, with its PM2.5 levels reaching 118.4 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the Swiss air quality company. IQ Air.

IQAir said exhaust emissions from traffic, crop burning, construction pollution, and smoke emissions from factories are responsible for high levels of PM2.5 in Thailand’s cities.

“Thailand as a country can be counted as a place with many polluted cities, some of which are notorious for their smoke and haze levels,” he said, calling Bangkok and Chiang Mai among Thailand’s most polluted cities. Listed as a section.

Back in 2019, Chiang Mai Municipality Declared An emergency after the city’s air pollution levels reached “catastrophic levels” and PM2.5 levels exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic meter.