Air so dirty that Bangkok should work from home: City Hall

Bangkok residents should work from home due to the heavy seasonal smog which has been choking the city for weeks.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration last night issued an advisory that those who can work remotely should do so for the next week as pollution levels have hit levels deemed unhealthy multiple times since New Year’s Day.

This morning, the capital was a very unhealthy 138 on the international air quality index, with over 10 times the concentration of dangerous PM2.5 particles than is considered safe by the WHO.

Three things Bangkok can do right now to improve air quality

The recommendation came after the Meteorological Department predicted Thailand will face more persistent dry weather and high PM 2.5 concentrations on Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. 

The department hoped that reducing road traffic would reduce the smog. Other contributors such as factory operations and field burning would also be met with some restrictions including monitoring emissions and arresting those who burn crops.

Inhaling air pollutants can irritate airways and cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthmatic episodes, and chest pain. The Health Ministry reported that in the past three weeks there were roughly 90,000 people nationwide sickened with respiratory diseases, itchy skin, and eye irritation. The majority – 60% – were seniors, people with congenital diseases, and children. 

Air pollution in Bangkok tends to run high September through April, peaking around January. Still, the average daily pollution has fallen for the past three years, from a rough daily average of 72.7 in 2020, 63.6 in 2021, and 59.6 in 2022.

Bangkok’s air slightly less polluted for third consecutive year

City Hall has opened five hospital “pollution clinics” to care for people suffering from respiratory diseases. They are located at Klang, Taksin, Charoenkrung Pracharak, Ratchaphiphat, and Sirindhorn hospitals.

The persistent threat of pollution, which has become a major health concern for the past five years, is a major test facing Bangkok Gov. Chadchart Sittipunt, who was elected in a landslide eight months ago on the hope of solving some of the city’s intractable problems.

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