Nearly 200,000 people are seeking treatment for air pollution-related diseases in Thailand

BANGKOK: Due to deteriorating air quality and unhealthy levels of the air pollutant PM2.5, about 200,000 people across the country sought treatment in hospitals and clinics for air pollution-related illnesses this week.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Grandpa Karnkawinpong said this week that air pollution-related diseases showed an increasing trend, from 161,839 to 196,311 cases.

He said reported air pollution-related illnesses included 583,238 cases of respiratory disease, 267,161 (skin infections), 242,805 (eye infections) and 208,880 (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular).

From January 1 to March 5 this year, more than 1.3 million people fell ill due to air pollution, he said.

“PM 2.5 levels are higher this year than last year (2022), partly because during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of passengers traveling has decreased, resulting in less pollution,” he said in an explanation.

Readings of small and dangerous airborne particles, known as PM2.5, were above safe limits in many provinces this week, particularly Bangkok and Thailand’s northern provinces, according to the government’s Environmental Protection Agency.

At 13:00 today (local time), air quality was the worst in the world in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where the air quality index (AQI) was measured at 191, an unhealthy level, according to IQAir, a Swiss group which measures air quality based on PM2 ,5.

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, ranks the 10th worst in the world with an AQI score of 153.

dr Grandpa said the haze situation in the kingdom is expected to gradually improve over the next week or two.

Meanwhile, Noppharat Rajathanee Hospital director Kriangkrai Namthaisong urged the public, particularly pregnant women, children and the elderly, to reduce outdoor activities and stay indoors.

He urged the public to wear an N95 protective mask outdoors to reduce the risk of spreading respiratory infections. -Bernama Nearly 200,000 people are seeking treatment for air pollution-related diseases in Thailand

Russell Falcon

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