Bangkok: Toxic air pollution, with PM2.5 levels grossly exceeding safety limits, has led to schools being directed to shut down in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, for the remainder of the week.
“(The Prime Minister) has ordered the Ministry of Education to consider closing the schools in order to mitigate the health effect,” Boonrak Yodpetch, the secretary general to the Office of Basic Education Commission, told CNN.
“(The) first action is to close down all schools in Bangkok and some schools in four to five provinces (near Bangkok),” he added. The order directly affects public schools which are managed by the city administration.
The official outlined reduced vehicular traffic as one of the direct outcomes of the closure of schools.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Bangkok measured 175 on Wednesday evening, which is way above the safety levels required for humans to breathe regularly. The World Health Organisation mentions an AQI reading of under 25 as acceptable.
Furthermore, Thailand’s Department of Pollution Control mentioned on Facebook that Particulate Matter (PM2.5) levels in the air exceeded safety limits in over 41 areas around Bangkok.
The situation will be reassessed again on Sunday to determine if the closure of schools will continue into next week.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Bangkok, Asawin Kwanmuang, has said that drones would be deployed on Thursday in the capital to sprinkle a mixture of water and molasses to ease pollution levels.
Authorities in Thailand have previously sprayed water from fire trucks into the streets and tried to produce artificial rain in a bid to reduce pollution levels in the city.