The high pollution in Thailand caused the government to issue a warning, urging officials to adapt to remote work for two days. This action comes as a smoky haze envelops Bangkok, casting a dull pall over the city’s skyline.

What Caused It

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin attributes the high levels of air pollution in the capital to crop burning, industry, and traffic. These factors have converged to create an environmental crisis that has necessitated immediate action from the government.

Emissions from vehicles, particularly in urban centers, are a significant contributor to the pollution problem. Additionally, biomass burning and transboundary haze in rural and border areas, coupled with industrial pollution, exacerbate the issue.

Thailand’s air quality has been a subject of concern for several years. In 2019, as the 30th most polluted nation out of the 98 countries in IQAir’s World Air Quality Report. By 2020, particulate pollution had escalated to almost five times higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended levels.

The impact on public health is considerable, with the population breathing air that contains four times the WHO’s annual air quality guideline value. The consequences of long-term exposure to such high levels of pollution can lead to an array of health issues, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

In response to the escalating pollution levels, city employees in Bangkok have been instructed to work from home for two days. This measure aims to reduce vehicular emissions and limit exposure to unhealthy air conditions. It also underscores the urgent need for effective solutions to combat the rising pollution levels.

What Should Be Done

However, merely adapting to these conditions is not enough. The situation calls for a comprehensive review of current practices and a commitment to sustainable alternatives that can curb pollution. These could include stricter emissions standards for vehicles, increased investment in renewable energy, and better waste management systems.

High pollution in Thailand represents a significant challenge that needs to be addressed urgently. The shift to remote work is a temporary solution, but the ultimate goal should be to create an environment where such measures are unnecessary. Only through substantial changes in policy and practice can Thailand hope to improve its air quality and safeguard the health of its citizens.

Image Source: The Jakarta Post