The Public Health Ministry is asking private companies to allow their employees to work from home, after an estimated 1.4 million people were reportedly made ill by the recent drop in air quality.
After opening an operation centre to monitor air quality across the country, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul urged everyone who has to leave their homes to wear a mask to protect themselves from the smog.
“If private sector workers can work from home, less exhaust fumes would be emitted,” he said, before adding the Transport Ministry is ramping up the rollout of electric buses to help reduce pollution in the capital.
According to Bangkok Medical Service Department, between Jan 1 and March 10, 31,695 people sought medical help for medical problems exacerbated by the haze.
Some 2,252 patients had chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, 8,692 had eczema, 8,309 had a stroke, while 4,800 reported conjunctivitis or pink eye. 1,770 people sought help with pneumonia, 1,107 with bronchitis, 1,830 with pharyngitis, 672 with nasal cryotherapy, 129 with asthma, 114 with influenza, 89 with ischemic heart disease and 1,877 with lung cancer.
Bangkok and the North, Northeast and Central Plains are set to see some relief from the choking pollution today, with thunderstorms expected with strong winds.
The Meteorological Department urged the public to stay indoors, avoid seeking shelter under trees during a thunderstorm, and steer clear of unsteady road signs and or structures.
According to the Air Quality and Noise Management Division, PM2.5 levels will continue to rise until March 20. However, from Thursday, a southerly wind will blow the smog away from Bangkok and its vicinity.