Thailand’s pollution control department to lower safe PM2.5 levels following WHO guidelines
The Pollution Control Department (PCD) yesterday announced plans to align with the World Health Organisation guidelines and reclassify the safe level for ultra-fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from 50 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) to 37.5 µg/m3 in an effort to address dust pollution concerns.
Jatuporn Burutphat, the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, expressed the ministry’s support for lowering the threshold on Thailand’s Air Quality Index.
Currently, the PCD categorises air pollution into five levels: blue (very good), green (good), yellow (moderate), orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups), and red (unhealthy). The red threshold will undergo an adjustment from 91 µg/m3 to 75.1 µg/m3, reported Bangkok Post.
Burutphat stated that he requested the PCD to engage in discussions surrounding sustainable solutions for transboundary haze with officials from neighbouring countries. Additionally, they aim to promote increased awareness of pollution among the public. As a result, people are becoming more accustomed to wearing face masks and avoiding outdoor activities to protect themselves against the risk of respiratory diseases caused by dust pollution.
In light of the sweltering temperatures expected in the coming weeks, the Health Department has also issued a warning to the public about the potential risk of heatstroke.
The director-general, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, highlighted that provinces such as Tak, Lampang, Phetchabun, Loei, and Udon Thani have experienced daily temperatures of above 43C.
As Thailand continues to battle with dust pollution and extreme temperatures, authorities are striving to improve the country’s air quality and raise public awareness to reduce the risk of health problems associated with these conditions. By aligning with international standards and engaging in collaborative efforts with neighbouring nations, Thailand hopes to achieve lasting results in mitigating the impact of pollution and ensuring the well-being of its citizens.
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