Thailand’s air pollution leads to 200,000 hospital admissions in past week

Thailand’s current air pollution levels have led to 200,000 hospital admissions over the past week. As heavy find dust blankets the north, northeast and greater Bangkok, the Health Ministry says dust levels are at an unsafe level.

The Ministry says those who were admitted to the hospital are suffering from pollution-related respiratory problems. Since the start of 2023, more than 1.3 million people have fallen ill as a result of air pollution.

According to the Bangkok Post, a Health Ministry doctor is urging children and pregnant women to stay indoors. But, if they must go outside, it is recommended to wear a high-quality N95 anti-pollution mask.

In all of the country’s 17 northern provinces, the levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter, increased yesterday. Those areas were classified in the orange zone, which reflects levels that could affect health.

Red zones were designated in 15 northern provinces, indicating serious health impacts for residents. The current monitoring system deems that any PM2.5 concentration exceeding 50 microgrammes per cubic metre is considered unsafe.

According to Pinsak Surasawadi, director-general of the Pollution Control Department, the following provinces are experiencing PM2.5 levels ranging between 91 and 136ug/m3:

  • Chiang Mai
  • Lamphun
  • Chiang Rai
  • Mae Hong Son
  • Nan
  • Tak
  • Sukhothai
  • Phitsanulok
  • Kamphaeng
  • Phet
  • Uthai Thani

He went on to say that the highest dust levels were in tambon Thani of Muang district of Sukhothai. Pinsak says he blames the burning of agricultural waste and sugarcane plantations. The burning combined with poor ventilation and weak winds contributed to the current accumulated dust.

In the northeast, 11 areas were in the orange zone, while four were in the red zone. Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Loei, and Bueng Kan, dust levels were reported at 94-124ug/m3.

Bangkok and its surrounding areas have seen moderate health risk levels due to the air quality, although Pinsak says the PM2.5 levels fell slightly in some areas.

He says the dust in Greater Bangkok is expected to improve after Saturday as the wind from the South is expected to blow away the dust. But, he says people should take extra caution from March 14-16, as the dust passing by could affect their health.

People are advised to keep updated on the country’s air quality by checking the Air4Thai application.

Northern Thailand News

Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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