People in Northern Thailand Urged to Work from Home as Air Pollution Worsens

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People In Northern Thailand Warned To Stay Indoors
Smoggy rural area with man walking on the road.

Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul urged residents of Northern Thailand to not travel for work due to high levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 dust in the air.

On Monday, he advised employers in the region to allow their staff to work from home and asked people to wear a mask while stepping outdoors to help prevent respiratory ailments.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 1 million Thai people have fallen sick due to the worsening air pollution in the country.

The Ministry of Transport is now expediting its plans to put electric buses into service as traffic and the volume of vehicles on roads have become major factors affecting air pollution in Thailand.

Mr. Anutin added that more than 1,250 electric buses are currently in service, with another 4,800 that were ordered and will be delivered soon.

Emergency centers have also opened to cope with the situation, and hospitals have been instructed to be ready to take care of the people affected by the toxic smog, the Bangkok Post reports.

Ban Chaiya, Chiang Mai Province recorded a PM2.5 level of 172, and Ban Tha Pong Daeng, Mae Hong Son Province recorded a PM2.5 reading of 184 as of Tuesday, according to Air Quality Index (AQI) which is way above permissible limits.

Any PM 2.5 levels above 50 micrograms per cubic meter are considered unhealthy, with long-term exposure linked to chronic diseases involving the heart and lungs.