Thailand will adjust the country’s standard safety level of air pollution from an average of 50 microns to 37.5 microns from June 1st, with the hope that this will help the Pollution Control Department manage air pollution with increased efficiency, according to PCD Director-General Pinsak Suraswadi.

For the time being, he said that the PCD has implemented their Level 3 Plan, which means that they are seeking cooperation from employers by allowing their staff to work from home and from motorists, by reducing their use of private cars to reduce emissions.

Construction sites have been instructed to reduce activities which push dust into the atmosphere and the burning of waste in the open is prohibited, he said.

Pinsak said that provincial administrations have the authority to control burning of farm waste through the use of the “Burn Check” application, which is already used in Chiang Mai, but not in many other provinces, adding that they will be instructed to tighten up on the burning of farm waste, to cut the number of hotspots in half this year.

Bangkok and its suburbs are experiencing poor air quality, with dangerously high levels of PM2.5 dust in most areas. This will remain the situation until this Saturday, after which the air quality will improve slightly.

He attributed the worsening air pollution in Bangkok, northern and north-eastern regions to hotspots, numbering about 1,200 today (Thursday), especially in Kanchanaburi, Chaiyaphum, Tak, Nakhon Sawan, Lop Buri, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Uttaradit and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces, compounded by cross-border smoke from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

The PCD chief explained that stagnant air plus smoke from the burning of farm waste and garbage tend to cause the PM2.5 level in the atmosphere to increase, from 35 microns on normal days up to 60 microns when air circulation is poor and up to 90 microns if there are burning activities.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, meanwhile, said that the BMA has warned before about the poor air quality in Bangkok and has established a warning system for schools.

He said the BMA decided not to suspend classes in municipal schools right now, because this may cause inconvenience to parents, but it has instructed all schools to make sure that their students wear face masks and avoid outdoor activities.

He also said that he would like people in the capital to stop burning incense, candles and paper during worship, adding that he cannot, however, force them to do because it is part of religious freedom.



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