Haze shuts schools in Bangkok

Haze shuts schools in Bangkok

Some schools in Bangkok were closed on Thursday as the city’s air quality hit dangerous levels.

Air pollution in the Thai capital has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks with residents complaining of smog and respiratory problems.

The country’s pollution control agency appealed to residents to wear face masks.

Some international schools in the city have installed their own air pollution measuring devices, said parents, and are in touch with other international schools in cities with high air pollution levels to discuss ways to limit children’s exposure.

“We’ve received information from my daughter’s school that they are monitoring pollution levels and will be keeping the children indoors until it improves,” Joanna Lorgrailers, a mother of two who lives in Bangkok, told Reuters.

Suwanna Tiansuwan, deputy director general of the Pollution Control Department said the lack of wind in recent days had allowed pollution to accumulate in the air.

“We’ve warned at-risk groups including sick people... the elderly and children. We’ve warned that they must not conduct activities outdoors,” Tiansuwan said.

Air Quality Index (AQI) formulas usually include up to six main pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone.

The Pollution Control Department reported PM2.5 dust in the Bangkok Metropolitan at midday on Thursday and it was measured at 72-95 micrograms per cubic-meter, with the likelihood that it would increase.

That compares with a World Health Organization (WHO) guideline of an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms. PM 2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and solid particles that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke.

The department reported the Air Quality Index (AQI) in central Bangkok area had reached an unhealthy level of 135 AQI by early afternoon.

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