Thailand’s air-pollution crisis prompts new guidelines for school safety
The Ministry of Education on Friday issued an order to provincial education offices nationwide stipulating measures to tackle the PM2.5 crisis in schools as well as instructions on how students and school personnel can protect themselves from air pollution.
PM2.5 – fine dust in the air – poses health risks, especially to young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic lung disease.
The order, signed by permanent secretary Atthapol Sangkhawasi, designated the Disaster Coordination Centre for Educational Institutes – which has officials in every provincial education office – as the central agency for monitoring air pollution in their province.
The centre is also tasked with formulating short- and long-term measures to tackle the crisis.
The order also provided the following instructions on how students and school personnel can protect themselves from PM2.5:
- Avoid engaging in outdoor activities for a prolonged period of time.
- Properly wear face masks that can protect against fine dust when outdoors.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and apply skin cream or moisturiser before going outdoors.
- Take a shower or wash your skin after being exposed to polluted air.
- Stay healthy by having adequate sleep, exercising regularly, eating meals that combine the five food groups, especially fruit with high antioxidants, and drinking plenty of water.
- Use air purifiers that have a high efficiency particulate air filter.
- Consult a physician if you have respiratory symptoms or skin irritations.
The PM2.5 level in several areas of Thailand rose to dangerous levels over the past few days due to stagnant air, but started to ease on Saturday.
According to the website iqair.com, Bangkok’s average air quality index at 9am on Saturday was 95, or moderate. The average PM2.5 level was 33 micrograms per cubic metre of air (μg/m3), below Thailand’s minimum safety level of 50 μg/m3.