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Masks issued to combat Sumatran smoke



PHUKET CITY: Residents with respiratory ailments can protect themselves from the smoke that has enveloped the island by picking up free face masks at Wachira Phuket Hospital.

Dr Wanchai Sattayawutthipong, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), told the Gazette that the average particulate matter reading (PM-10 reading, for particles less than 10 microns in size) in air samples taken over 24 hours yesterday was 82.5 micrograms per cubic meter, still well below the 120µg/m³threshold deemed to pose a risk to healthy people.

Dr Wanchai said the smoke could pose a threat to people with allergies and respiratory illnesses. Such people could collect face masks free-of-charge at Wachira Phuket Hospital, he said.

The source of the haze is wildfires burning out of control on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, he said.

His office will continue to monitor the situation closely and will issue warnings as needed should the situation worsen. He advised people who experience difficulty breathing to:

-Cover their noses and mouths with a damp cloth when going outside;

-Keep doors and windows shut to prevent smoke from entering dwellings;

-Take special care to keep people in high-risk groups away from areas with high smoke concentrations, especially by staying indoors;

-Consult a doctor immediately if experiencing breathing difficulty;

-Avoid smoking cigarettes and drink plenty of water;

-Avoid strenuous exercise;

-Do not collect rainwater for drinking until at least one hour has passed since the beginning of the rainfall.

The Pollution Control Department displays updated air-quality data at:

The most recent readings show a PM-10 reading of 69.8 µg/m³ and an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 69, also below the warning standard of 100.

For more information please contact the PPHO at 076-222913-4.


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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