The president of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is urging the government to speed up solving the Bangkok's PM2.5 problems in the long term, fearing that if the situation remains unchanged, it affect the economy and tourism.
FTI president Kriengkrai Thiennukul on Saturday said the PM2.5 dust particles have surpassed the safe threshold of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³).
On Friday, Bangkok ranked as the fourth-most polluted city in the world from IQ Air's Air Quality Index.
Mr Kriengkrai said the fine dust problems will badly affect the health of vulnerable groups, particularly children, the elderly and those who suffer respiratory issues.
In light of the unsafe dust levels in the capital, many private sector companies also cooperated with Bangkok City Hall to allow workers to work from home to mitigate the dust levels.
Mr Kriengkrai urged the government to solve the dust problem and seek a long-term solution, in response to what he saw as the government's minimal response to date: only asking people to wear N95 masks or work from home over the past two days.
Extremely high levels of fine dust will hit the economy and tourism just as they are recovering from Covid-19 -- and working from home and a decrease in outdoor activities would affect the amount of cash circulating in the economy.
Also, tourists may postpone their travel or choose to visit other countries with cleaner air, he said.
Speaking after a dust prevention and solution committee meeting, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said the dust problems were expected to improve over the weekend.
He had received a report that artificial rain would be made in Rayong by the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agriculture Aviation.
This may lead to rainfall in Bangkok's areas including Lat Krabang, Prawet and Bang Na districts.
In addition, the navy also started setting up 13 PM2.5 air purifiers in the city, particularly in crowded areas.