Thailand: In 2023, 10 million people sought medical attention for ailments linked to pollution

A toxic haze is frequently produced at the start of the year by widespread forest fires and farm burning, especially in the northern part of the nation. Compared to the previous year, the beginning of 2024 has already seen an increase in the number of cases of disorders linked to pollution. According to AFP, the number of persons seeking treatment for ailments due to pollution grew from 1.3 million in the first nine weeks of 2023 to 1.6 million at the beginning of 2024. There are roughly 72 million people living in Thailand. People with long-term illnesses like heart disease, bronchitis, lung cancer, and asthma are among the instances.

 

The NESDC stated that Thailand has to “prioritize… the impact of PM2.5 on public health.” PM 2.5 is the term used to describe the concentration of dangerously small particles that can enter bloodstreams through the lungs. These particles have dimensions of 2.5 micrometers or less. Chest tightness, coughing, and burning and itching in the skin and eyes can all result from exposure to these micropollutants. Those who already have heart or lung issues may experience an increase in these symptoms. Air quality monitoring websites have listed some of Thailand’s northern cities as some of the most polluted in the world. The monitoring tool IQAir has rated Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Lampang as “unhealthy”.

 

During Thailand’s dry season, which normally lasts from November to March, air pollution is an issue mostly because of seasonal burning caused by farmers clearing their rice and sugarcane crops. Srettha Thavisin, the prime minister, promised to raise the standard of the air earlier this year. Lawmakers also supported a bill that attempted to address the issue. The nation revealed last week that it would be deploying thirty planes nationwide to seed clouds in order to reduce pollution and bring on rain. When pollution in Bangkok and the neighboring provinces rose to dangerous levels in February, municipal officials asked workers to take two days off and work from home.

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