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Thai officials shut down schools as toxic air pollutants Bangkok: NPR

Thailand's Environmental Protection Agency declared unhealthy air quality in the Thai capital, leading to the closure of 400 public schools by the end of the week.

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Thailand's Environmental Inspectorate declared unhealthy air quality in the Thai capital and led to the closure of 400 public schools by the end of the week.

Romeo Gacad / AFP / Getty Images

The chemical haze of yellowish smog radiating sky over Bangkok is so toxic that officials have said more than 400 public schools in the Thai capital are closed on Thursday and Friday.

The city's air quality, which is largely polluted by pollution from vehicle emissions, has reached such detrimental levels that the air quality index (AQI, AQI) was over 160 on Thursday morning local time, a period in which the readings were taken during the peak The megalopolis sleeps the lowest. Nevertheless, it was one of the worst urban readings worldwide. (The range for "good" and "moderate" AQI ranges from 0 to 100.)

In addition, officials fear that conditions will be tightened by next week's Lunar New Year celebration, which is widespread deployment of fireworks and frankincense. They call on the public to either abandon the lighting as they welcome the New Year.

Vehicle fumes and smoke pollution from factories, wood-burning stoves, coal and burning fields are all responsible for increasing the amount of harmful microscopic dust particles, called PM2.5, that can enter the bloodstream and any organ of the body.

According to Reuters, the Department of Pollution Control said the PM2.5 level in the city on Wednesday exceeded the safe level in 41 areas.

"We will assess the situation on Saturday and Sunday to see if this is true The case would be "All schools will need to be closed next week," said government spokesman Puttipong Punnakan.

Edward Avol, a professor researching the effects of childhood air pollution in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, said the NPR That toxic air, in addition to the respiratory problems caused by particulate matter, also leads to contamination range of neurological outcomes in children and adults.

"We see a variety of effects across the age range," said Avol. "Younger children may develop learning problems. It is difficult for them to pay attention to the lesson, to concentrate and to focus on their task

"In older adults, health studies show that people breathing in the poor air lose cognitive function," he added.

He noted that keeping children at home also helps to reduce road traffic as fewer parents or carers bring students to and from school. The disadvantage, however, is that home conditions are often worse than in a classroom.

"At school, it may be cleaner than at home, especially when children play on the street all day, at school teachers can close the doors and windows, and the rooms even have air conditioning or air filtration systems", Avol said.

As the country faces chronic air problems in the future, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, leader of the Thai military government, said he considered closing "some factories during peak pollution to address the problem," Bloomberg said.

To this end, Prayuth has instructed soldiers to investigate and compile a list of the worst environmental polluters.

Other measures the government has taken to purify the air of stifling smog include spraying water from giant cannons into the sky. A strategy that the Director-General of the Department of Pollution Control in Thailand said is well meant, "but maybe that's not the best."

Local air pollution experts called on legislators to impose a series of restrictions on driving and parking to alleviate congestion throughout the city and lower PM2.5 levels. The number of vehicles on the streets of Bangkok has risen dramatically in recent years, from 6 million in 2005 to nearly 10 million in 2018.

Supat Wangwongwattana, former head of the Thai Department of Pollution Control, issued a number of recommendations in the Bangkok Post last year, including a 90-day ban on certain vehicles on days when the AQI is particularly high. He also suggested that heavy trucks could be excluded from entering the city during rush hour, and that the authorities limit car use to even or odd days of the month.

The New York Times reported at one point that the government also considered the use of giant blowers to blow out pollution from the city of exposure to outdoor air pollution, and in combination with air pollution deaths Household increases the number to 8 million. In addition, 91 percent of the world's population live in places where air quality exceeds agency limits.

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