Greater Bangkok braced for more haze

Greater Bangkok braced for more haze

Provinces undertake campaigns to fight bad weather

Fine dust particles could come back to haunt residents in Greater Bangkok this coming week. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Fine dust particles could come back to haunt residents in Greater Bangkok this coming week. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Weather conditions in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces are improving -- but the Pollution Control Department on Sunday said it expects unsafe dust levels to return this week.

The department's weekly report on Sunday said the level of particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter showed only some of the 50 stations slightly exceeding the safe zone. This week, however, it expects PM2.5 levels in Greater Bangkok to rise once more.

"People living in Bangkok and its vicinity will continue to be affected by PM2.5 dust," the report said.

Greater Bangkok was out of the serious zone on Sunday. The worst pollution was on Sam Saen Road in Phra Nakhon district, where PM2.5 was measured at 73 microgrammes per cubic metre, followed by Rama III Road in Bang Khorlaem district at 71mcg.

Any measurements above 90 -- the red zone -- are considered a serious threat to health. Levels of 51-90, the orange zone, affect people negatively. 

People in orange zones are advised to curb exercise and outdoor activities. When they do go out, they should wear masks, the department said.

Khon Kaen and Phayao were among provinces conducting activities to reduce dust levels in their municipalities.

In Khon Kaen, trucks sprayed water and workers cleaned up dirty roads in the municipality, although PM2.5 was only measured at 41 in the area.

Water is sprayed to reduce toxic dust levels in the Khon Kaen municipaltiy on Sunday. (Video by Chakkrapan Natanri)

Deputy Khon Kaen governor Suthep Maneechote said the campaign was a preventive measure against toxic dust. The northeastern province was one of the most affected areas last year when PM2.5 levels reached as high as 106mcg in February.

Officials in all districts of Khon Kaen have been ordered to prevent farmers from burning sugarcane fields during the harvest season, the official added.

In Phayao, officials also launched an activity raising public awareness of how slash-and-burn farming causes local pollution. 

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