Because of the persistent smog in large parts of Thailand, more and more people need medical treatment. Almost 200,000 new patients were added this week alone, the Bangkok Post newspaper quoted State Secretary for Public Health Grandpa Karnkawinpong as saying on Thursday.
Since the beginning of the month, more than five million people have been diagnosed with diseases directly related to the massive air pollution. Many suffered from respiratory problems.
15 provinces, especially in the north of the country, are particularly affected. Dangerous particulate matter levels prevailed in the tourist stronghold Chiang Mai and in the capital Bangkok. Emergency medical services have been set up in all regions.
The reason for the thick bell of extreme smog is fire clearance in Thailand, but also in neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. At the end of the dry season, farmers burn their fields to rid them of undergrowth and weeds. Between January and March, therefore, there are often high levels of particulate matter.
Karnkawinpong urged the elderly, children and citizens with health problems to stay in their homes if possible. Air purifiers for apartments were partially sold out in Bangkok. The actually cloudless sky over the mega-metropolis has been shimmering milky-white for days. The iconic skyscrapers were also shrouded in a dense fog of smog. (dpa)