Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Schools close in midst of Bangkok pollution

Bangkok pollution is so bad people are 'sneezing blood'
Schools closed as health crisis in Thailand escalates
People, wearing face masks, make their way along a street in Bangkok
3 February, 2019

A fleet of drones sprayed water over Bangkok last week after unprecedented levels of pollution forced schools to close and left residents reportedly sneezing blood.

Thailand's public health ministry advised residents to avoid outdoor activities as the health crisis continues to escalate.

People who did venture outdoors frequently wore masks. 

Asawin Kwanmuang, the city's governor, accepted that drones were not a long term solution to Bangkok's pollution levels but invited academics and private sector workers to contribute ideas to end the crisis.

"Those who are knowledgeable on this issue, don't give opinions to others, tell me. I am the one who is working on the issue, please give me advice," he said.

Critics have said that the water will not reduce air pollution levels.

"Do I know everything? No, I don't," the politician said.

"Because I do not know everything, that's why I will hold a meeting. Please join us in brainstorming."

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The governor has declared the city a "pollution control zone", enforcing road closures and limits on outdoor burning, construction and diesel exhaust. 

The proposed measures tackle the perceived causes of Bangkok's pollution, particularly in the form of vehicle emissions.

Some Bangkok residents took to social media to share photographs of the pollution's apparent physical impact.

Nutthawut Sirichainarumit, an office worker in the Thai capital, shared a photo of what appears to be blood in his hand.

I was totally shocked because I never sneezed blood before in my entire life," he wrote on Facebook.

Meteorological events that trap noxious pollution in Bangkok have exacerbated the pollution crisis.

These include a thermal inversion, which traps particles close to the ground, combined with weak winds which fail to blow them away.

Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, ordered inspections of factories to measure how much pollution they were emitting.

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