Air pollution in Thailand City workers in Bangkok are asked

Air pollution in Thailand: City workers in Bangkok are asked to telework

Bangkok city employees will be asked to work from home on Thursday and Friday due to a fresh spike in air pollution in the Thai capital.

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“All employees in the metropolis will telework on February 15 and 16 (…),” said Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt on Wednesday evening, calling on partner organizations to take similar measures.

The call for teleworking affects around 60,000 people, he said.

On Thursday, an unbreathable fog blanketed the city of around six million people, popular with tourists for its temples and street stalls.

According to the independent organization IQAir, particulate matter PM2.5 exceeded the limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) by fifteen times during the morning, placing Bangkok among the top 10 most polluted cities in the world.

According to the same source, other regions of the Kingdom, particularly in the north and northeast, are also exposed to dangerous levels of pollution.

“We currently have many problems with pollution, so we must act now to reduce the impact on the population,” said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

In the capital, almost 25% of air pollution comes from vehicle emissions, he recalled, mentioning possible measures against diesel engines or the promotion of electric cars.

Smoke from forest fires and stubble fires as well as atmospheric emissions from industry are the other reasons that explain this “smog” that occurs again and again at this time of year in Thailand, in the middle of the dry season.

Despite calls not to leave their homes, the streets of Bangkok continued to be bustling with activity.

“If I stay at home, I will starve (…) People like me have to go out to make ends meet,” Jarukit Singkomron, 57, who works as a motorcycle taxi, told AFP.

At the beginning of January, the government presented a bill against air pollution, which in particular stipulates that polluters must pay fines above certain limits.

According to authorities, between January and April 2023, more than two million people suffered from health problems related to polluted air.