Govt working urgently to tackle PM2.5 crisis, says spokesman
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed his government to take urgent action to tackle the PM2.5 crisis, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Friday.
The government has not been idle about the crisis and tackling PM2.5 pollution has become a national priority, Anucha said.
“The prime minister instructed all the state agencies to monitor the situation closely and continuously. He also follows up on the progress regularly to make sure that his proposed measures are taken,” he said.
The government has taken short- and long-term measures to deal with the problem, and information has been released to the public so that people can protect themselves from the health risks of PM2.5, Anucha said.
The amount of PM2.5 – fine dust – in the air is increasing in urban, farming and forested areas of the country, while the lack of airflow, as well as dry weather, are aggravating the problem, the spokesman said.
He urged commuters to use public transport more often to help reduce PM2.5 dust and to wear facemasks while outdoors to protect themselves.
The Public Health Ministry, Transport Ministry, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives have all prescribed measures to reduce PM2.5 levels. These include banning vehicles that emit black fumes, reducing hotspots, discouraging outdoor burning, and reducing exhaust emitted by factories.
Many areas of Thailand, particularly Bangkok and the Northeast, have been shrouded by unhealthy levels of fine dust. The Pollution Control Department warned that the crisis would continue until the middle of next week.
The levels of PM2.5 in Bangkok and northeastern provinces exceeded the “safe” threshold of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre (μg/m3 ) on Thursday, ranging from 62-139 μg/m3 in Bangkok and 57-158 μg/m3 in the Northeast.
PM2.5 can be hazardous to people with lung and respiratory problems.