Thailand haze situation in the south sees slight improvement, agencies told to take action
BANGKOK: — Thailand haze FACE masks were distributed yesterday in haze-hit southern Thailand even as the situation saw a slight improvement compared with Thursday.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday instructed relevant agencies, including the Public Health, Interior, Education, and Defence ministries, to take action on the southern haze problem as per their responsibility.
Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn stated that his ministry had ordered public hospitals in the affected area to advise the people to prepare themselves and stay healthy during the haze, and it also distributed the face masks.
“The PM was very worried about the people’s health and ordered us to take care of the people affected by the haze,” Piyasakol said.
He advised people in the South to avoid outdoor activities and if they wanted to exercise, they should do it indoors.
In Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, which had particulate matter up to 10 microns in size (PM-10) at the highest level on Thursday, the Songkhla Provincial Health Office, Songkhla Hospital and Hat Yai City Municipality gave out face masks at Sapsin Plaza Market, one of the mask-distribution centres in the province.
A total of 269,050 face masks were handed out to the people in all 16 districts of Songkhla as of yesterday.
Piyasakol stated that hospitals in the South were told to stay vigilant in order to prepare for the rise of air pollution-related sickness.
“Currently, there is still no steep rise in the number of people complaining of respiratory problems but the PM has instructed us to keep our eyes open for them,” he said.
Education Minister General Dapong Ratanasuwan said the haze problem had not affected educational institutions because it was the semester break.
However, children studying with tutors during the break may be affected by the haze, so he asked their parents and guardians to give top priority to the students’ health.
Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon said Prayut had instructed the military to lead operations to spray water to relieve the haze situation.
The centre to tackle the haze problem, based in Songkhla, reported that the situation would get better from today because the wind direction was changing from southwestern to northeastern, which would bring more rain to the area.
According to the Pollution Control Department, particulate matter up to 10 microns in size in the southern provinces was reduced from Thursday.
As of yesterday afternoon, the PM-10 level in Hat Yai, was 245 micrograms per cubic metre of air, Satun was 228, Yala was 173, Pattani was 168 and Narathiwat was 137.
The safe level of PM-10 is 120mcg per cubic metre of air.