Fearful Sights

Bangkok Residents Told to Stay Inside as Pollution Reaches Dangerous Levels

 

Bangkok Residents Told to Stay Inside as Pollution Reaches Dangerous Levels

Anuchit Nguyen. Bloomberg•January 14, 2019

(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has urged those living in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to stay indoors as the city’s air pollution reached dangerous levels.

The air quality index, or AQI, climbed to 182 in Bangkok at 10:14am — higher than the levels in Asia’s famously polluted metropolises of New Delhi, Beijing and Jakarta — before falling back to 138 by 3 p.m., according to website AirVisual, which monitors air pollution around the world. Readings below 50 are considered safe, while anything above 300 is considered hazardous.

People living in areas with high pollution levels in Bangkok should avoid “unnecessary” outdoor activities or wear masks, Prayuth told reporters in Chiang Mai province Monday.

Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy is rated as having some of the world’s most toxic air, caused mainly by construction, vehicle emissions, polluting factories and farmland burning.

The government’s agencies have taken urgent measures such as controls on construction sites and strict inspection of polluting vehicles, according to Puttipong Punnakanta, the government’s spokesman.

Thailand’s rainmaking department plans to try and spark precipitation from Tuesday in an effort to disperse pollutants, though officials said low atmospheric moisture levels pose an obstacle.

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