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437 govt schools to be closed Wednesday to tackle severe air pollution

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437 govt schools to be closed Wednesday to tackle severe air pollution

 

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The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced 437 government schools would close on Wednesday, January 22, to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and the impact on the health of children and young people after the Thai Meteorological Department said any closure for 1-2 days could help tackle the bad air quality.

 

Four urgent measures have been issued, which are:

 

1. All Bangkok-affiliated agencies should postpone working hours to 10am-6pm to reduce traffic congestion. This measure will be effective until the air pollution crisis is resolved. Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang insisted the public would not be affected by the time change.

 

2. Some 437 government schools in the city will be closed for a day – January 22.

 

3. Masks will be handed out to people. People can immediately pick up these masks at any of the capital’s 68 public health centres, bus stations or Skytrain stations.

 

4. The public are urged to protect themselves by wearing masks when leaving buildings to go outside.

 

BMA officials will also coordinate with government schools to open extra classes on the weekend or on other days, depending on the situation.

 

Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30380882

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2020-01-21
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Kids are in classrooms most of the day. Aren't they more apt to be outside with the day off? Or is the theory they are coming from outside the city? The pollution levels have been about the same even outside the city. 

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Useful or not. - But, what about the people in the north?

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It is bad all over Thailand, almost all over SEA.

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Smog forces Bangkok schools to shut, but respite in doubt due to crop burning

By Prapan Chankaew and Chayut Setboonsarng

 

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A road is seen with smog next to a sugar cane burnt plantations in Suphan Buri province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's capital on Tuesday ordered schools closed due to unhealthy levels of air pollution, and there were doubts whether the situation would improve in the coming months as farmers burn their sugarcane crop in the harvest season.

 

The Bangkok air quality index (AQI) climbed to 170 - a reading above 150 is classified as unhealthy - on Tuesday morning and the city was ranked as having the world's ninth worst air for a major city, according to independent air quality monitor AirVisual.

 

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration ordered 437 schools in Bangkok, the most visited city in the world, to close for a day on Wednesday as one of the emergency measures against pollution.

 

Bangkok's level of PM 2.5 particles was 92.7 pg/m3 on Tuesday, while anything over 35 is considered unhealthy. PM 2.5 particles can include dust, soot and smoke.

 

The last few years' annual deterioration in air quality early in the new year coincides with the annual sugarcane harvest, which normally runs from November to March.

 

Sugarcane is typically burned before harvesting to remove the outer leaves, making it easier to collect. After the harvest, the leftover leaves are burned again to prepare the land for re-planting.

 

The government has officially banned burning crops during January and February, according to the Ministry of Agriculture website.

 

But many farmers still resort to burning as it is cheaper than hiring workmen to cut stalks and collect leaves to prepare fields for the next planting.

 

"Total cost of cultivation rises about 30% to 40% for cutting fresh sugar cane (without burning) ... that makes it necessary to burn," a sugarcane farmer in northeastern Thailand, who only gave his name as Sert, said.

 

"I don't feel good about it," the farmer said when asked how he felt about contributing to the pollution.

 

For some days in January, Thailand had up to 375 kilometer-wide hot spots indicating fires, satellite data shows, with an average of 100 spots in agriculture land, according to Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

 

While burning of crops in the first two months of the year is banned, little is being done to enforce it, and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed helplessness.

 

"We cannot simply put the blame on people and penalise all the polluters because the outcome of penalty measures will create other serious problems for society," Prayuth told reporters on Monday.

 

To be sure, crop burning is not the only cause of the smog in Thailand - pollution from cars and trucks, weather patterns and industrial emissions are also blamed.

 

"It's a cocktail of factors," said Surat Bualert, Dean of the Faculty of Environment at Kasetsart University.

 

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Prapan Chankaew; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-22
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Bangkok City Hall suspends classes in 437 schools on Wednesday

 

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The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has suspended classes at 437 schools under its supervision for one day and introduced staggered working hours for all its officials from Wednesday, as airborne PM2.5 dust is forecast to remain excessive in most parts of the capital.

 

City Hall spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said today that the measures are part of the BMA’s four-point plan to cope with worsening air pollution in Bangkok.

 

He said, however, that officials working at district offices, who have to provide services to the public, will report to work as normal, adding that the staggered working hours will be ended when pollution has eased.

 

Full story: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/bangkok-city-hall-suspends-classes-in-437-schools-on-wednesday/

 

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