11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed all relevant government agencies to increase their efforts to curb PM2.5 dust in Bangkok and across the country.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said today (Friday) that the prime minister had emphasised measures on the national agenda, which include the increased efficiency of management in the prevention and reduction of the air pollutants at their source and to increase the efficiency of all relevant units in easing the impacts of PM2.5 fine dust on the public.

He said that an early warning system will be set up to alert the public, especially high-risk groups, to avoid outdoor activities and to wear face masks when they are outdoors, while police and transport officials were instructed to tighten up checks on exhaust emissions and to ease traffic congestion.

The government, he said, has been accelerating the use of alternative energy, such as solar cells, wind energy, biomass, hydro floating solar panels and electric vehicles among others,to reduce the use of fossil fuel, in order to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065.

Air pollution, especially in the northern provinces, has become so bad that some people have resorted to buying oxygen concentrators to help in breathing, while nose irritation has become increasingly common.

For instance, some Lahu hill tribe people in Mueang Na sub-district in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai have bought oxygen concentrators for household use for relatives suffering from asthma, due to the high concentration of dust in their village, apparently from forest fires.

In the municipal area of Nakhon Phanom Province, the number of visitors to a tourist attraction on the bank of the Mekong River has substantially reduced for several days now due to the dust problem.

A senior health inspector based in Nakhon Phanom, Dr.Pramote Sathienrat, said that dust problem has serious impacts on the health of the people and the local tourism industry.