Govt sends out PM2.5 alert

The Bangkok skyline, as seen from the 29th floor of a building on Sukhumvit Road in March of this year, is obscured by haze. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
The Bangkok skyline, as seen from the 29th floor of a building on Sukhumvit Road in March of this year, is obscured by haze. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Interior Ministry has ordered provincial authorities to immediately start preventive measures against PM2.5 now the country has entered the high-pollution risk season.

An expert has urged the government to lower the safe limit from 50 to 25 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had ordered provincial governors and Disaster Prevention and Mitigation offices across the country to impose PM2.5 pollution prevention measures.

The high-pollution risk season lasts during winter, especially in 17 northern provinces, Bangkok and nearby cities.

Provincial authorities are required to reach out to locals and promote alternative waste management to avoid open burning which can lead to wildfires, the government said.

Mr Anutin also ordered punishments for those who break the law.

A lecturer at Chulalongkorn University said areas with the highest number of lung cancer deaths are in the northern region and Bangkok where air pollution is often the worst in the country.

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  • alert: a warning to people to be prepared to deal with something dangerous - การเตือนให้ระวัง
  • cancer: a serious disease in which growths of cells, also called cancers, form in the body and kill normal body cells. The disease often causes death - มะเร็ง
  • Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department (noun): A Thai agency under Ministry of Interior (MOI) to handle disaster management responsibilities - กรมป้องกันและบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
  • expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • limit: the greatest or smallest amount of something that is allowed - ขีดจำกัด
  • measures (noun): actions taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ
  • PM2.5 (n): atmospheric particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. It can lodge in the lungs and enter blood vessels, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular disease -
  • prevention: the act of preventing something, or things that people do in order to prevent something - การป้องกัน
  • provincial (adj): related to "provinces" , the different parts of a country - ประจำจังหวัด, ส่วนท้องถิ่น
  • punishment: an act or a way of punishing somebody - การลงโทษ
  • risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
  • season (noun): a period of time during the year - ฤดูกาล, ช่วงเวลา, ระยะเวลา
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