Smog endangers Khmer in Thailand

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Cambodian migrant workers at an International Organization for Migration event. KT/Ven Rathavong

Cambodia’s embassy in Thailand issued an announcement on Thursday (Jan. 31) asking to all Cambodians presently in Thailand to guard their health, especially in regard to PM2.5 particulate matter.  These particles are 2.5 microns in size (four times smaller than pollen or dust) and therefore extremely dangerous to the respiratory system.

It said that the PM2.5 pollutants are abundant in Bangkok and the provinces of Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi, and Nakhon Pathom.

The embassy advised the use of N95 masks that filter out 95% of such particles.  It also noted that the Thai government will close down some schools temporarily because of the aerosol health hazard.

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Siwat Phongpiachan, chief of the (Thai) National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) Centre for Research & Development of Disaster Prevention & Management, attributed most of the pollutions to motor vehicles in Bangkok but with some blowing in from neighboring countries, when responding to his local news media.

“The findings mean that we need to conduct more research and monitoring on trans-boundary haze in the Asean region.”

Experts say the trans-boundary mobility of PM2.5 pollutants requires the government to keep a close watch not only on vehicle emissions in the city (BNK) but also monitor adjacent countries.

Chiv Sokhuor, a Cambodian freshman at Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology in Thailand told Khmer Times via Facebook on Friday (Feb. 1) that he will return to his home in Takeo province for a short time due to  the air pollution.  He is also concerned that the school may shut down for a longer period if the problem gets worse.

“I fly home on Thursday evening … but will be back at school next week.”

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