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Year-end PM2.5 readings are alarming. 10 Thailand provinces exceed the national safety standard for airborne dust.

On the morning of December 15, some areas of Thailand had a critical reading of PM2.5. Ministry of Public Health predicts that by the end of 2021, the amount of dust in the air will be more than last year. “Pollution clinics” and dust-free rooms will be coming into service in anticipation of the dust problem, with an emergency operations center slated to be opened once the pollution situation enters the critical phase.

Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Suphan Buri, Phitsanulok, Phichit, and Nakhon Phanom, exceed the nation’s standards for airborne dust. Next year’s prediction is supported by economic reactivity due to the improvement of the COVID pandemic. Travel and transportation, operation of industrial plants, management of agricultural land, and forest fires seem to be the main problem aggravating factors.

The Deputy Minister of Public Health, Sathit Pitutecha, said that central and eastern areas of Bangkok and the upper part of the Thonburi area, where there is more traffic congestion, will have health effects from December 15 onward.

The Ministry of Public Health has made preparations to prevent health effects from PM2.5 airborne particulate matter. Pollution clinics will provide counseling and treatment, as well as supply individuals with protective equipment for air pollution. 49 online pollution clinics have now come into service nationwide and dust-free rooms are being prepared at various public health venues and at places with a presence of individuals who will be most affected by air pollution. The latter sites include nurseries, retirement homes, and people’s houses.

According to the deputy health minister, an emergency medical and public health operations center will be opened at the provincial level once the PM2.5 reading in a province exceeds 75 micrograms per cubic meter for 3 consecutive days. A regional-level center will commence operations once more than 2 provinces in the region have activated their provincial-level centers. A Ministerial-level operations center will then be opened if more than 3 regional level centers come into service.

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