Residents advised to wear mask as air quality reaches ‘unhealthy’ level in Bangkok

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2019   •   2857

Smog in Bangkok skyline on January 14, 2019 | Reuters

BANGKOK, Thailand – Thailand’s Department of Pollution Control has warned residents in Bangkok to wear mask due to high level of hazardous dust particles trapped in stagnant air.

The level of fine particulate matter or PM2.5 exceeded the safe level of 50 micrograms per cubic meter in many areas of greater Bangkok as of Monday (January 14).

PM 2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and solid particles that can include dust, soot and smoke.

It is one of the main pollutants included in measuring the Air Quality Index (AQI).

When inhaled, it can damage the human’s respiratory system.

It can also damage the environment by increasing acidity in the soil and bodies of water.

As of Tuesday (January 15), Bangkok’s AQI is at 168 or ‘unhealthy’, based on data from World Air Quality Index Project in its website aqicn.org which measures AQI in cities worldwide.

Water cannons were being used on Monday to clean the air and streets.

Thai authorities, meanwhile, handed out masks in an effort to combat air pollution.

The level of hazardous dust particles known as PM 2.5 has exceeded the safe level in 30 of 50 Bangkok’s districts for days, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

“People are saying this is the wrong solution to fix the root causes, and we have to admit that it is right, but we need to start now. I am asking for help from Bangkok residents to work on it together.”

Director General Pralong Dumrongthai of the Department of Pollution Control says diesel fumes from cars contribute 50 to 60 percent of the pollution while burning rubbish and crops attributed about 35 percent.

Any level above 150 is considered unhealthy and Bangkok ranked in the top 10 of polluted cities worldwide on Monday.

The government has banned large trucks from entering downtown Bangkok during rush hours, while police have vowed to enforce the law on emission controls. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Reuters)

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PH Embassy, ready to assist in repatriation of Filipinos amid Delta variant surge in Thailand

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Ambassador Millicent Cruz-Paredes assured that Filipinos in Thailand are coping with the fresh surge of COVID-19 cases there.

During the Laging Handa Press Briefing on Friday (July 16), Paredes said the Embassy is ready to assist Filipinos in returning to the Philippines in case a travel ban is imposed against their host country.

“Nakahanda na po kami kung anoman ang magiging challenges and again ang magiging resulta nito. Alam na po ng ating Filipino community dito, gayundin ng mga airlines [dahil’ sila din ang nagmomonitor ng flow of passengers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Paredes said there were 30 Filipinos who have contracted COVID-19 in Thailand.

Of the said number, 27 already recovered, two were active cases and one succumbed to the disease just this month.

The envoy said the Embassy is already coordinating with the victim’s family.

Paredes explained that, at present, the country specifically its capital Bangkok is experiencing a third wave of infection.

“Ang pangatlong wave, it happened around March this year. Iyon po ay nakitaan ng pagpasok na ng mga variants. Nagsimula po ‘yan sa 2 high-end bars dito sa Bangkok,” she said.

“Dito po sa Bangkok, nakikitaan nila na ang around 69% [ng cases] ay Delta variant na,” she added.

Currently, Paredes said the Thai government is looking into possible cross-vaccination using available brands like AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

“Thailand PM Prayut Chan-o-cha already said na hindi siya hahadlang at mag-o-object sa mga proposals na magkaroon ng cross vaccination that would involve AstraZeneca, Pfizer,” Paredes said.

Air quality in Beijing improves due to coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

As the whole world is struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, one of the unexpected outcomes for Chinese people is more clean skies.

China had a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities like Beijing during February, when factories and streets were closed as authorities attempted to stop the spread of the virus, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus satellite image.

Analysis by Greenpeace shows that the pollutant emissions in Beijing and its surrounding areas dropped by more than 40% year-on-year in February.

Compared to previous years, the air in the capital has seen a big improvement during the outbreak. Streets and landmarks are no longer covered in smog.

Beijing resident Liu Chuan takes this as a potential health benefit, saying that he could even see stars at night after work.

“It feels like the air is overall much less polluted than it used to be. It also improves people’s mood, and indirectly strengthens the immunity. It’s good for fighting the virus,” added Liu.

However, expert warns the air pollution and carbon emissions may soon reappear as Chinese factories are ramping up output in an effort to offset the economic hit of coronavirus.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that it may cause air pollution frequently if a large scale of high-polluting industries resume production,” said Lyn Liu, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang, Shubing Wang, Joyce Zhou, Natalie Thomas)

Suspect arrested in robbery, gruesome death of toddler in Thailand

UNTV News   •   January 22, 2020

Thai police officers conduct an investigation next to the body of a victim at a crime scene after a robbery inside a department store in Lopburi province, Thailand, 09 January 2020 (issued 10 January 2020). EPA-EFE FILE/STR

By Lobsang DS Subirana

Bangkok –
Police said Wednesday they had arrested a man they suspect killed three people, among them a toddler, and injured another four during the robbery of a jewelry shop in a central province in Thailand.

Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda, a commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police, confirmed the arrest of Prasittichai Khaokaew, a 39-year-old school director, who he said was linked to the gruesome incident at a Lopburi province shopping center earlier this month, footage of which went viral.

“The alleged offender has been questioned about his motives but details cannot be revealed at the moment since we have not finished the investigation process yet,” Chakthip said during a media briefing.

Prasittichai was arrested Wednesday morning after the criminal court issued an arrest warrant Tuesday evening.

Police did not reveal further details and said another press conference would be held at 10.30 am on Thursday at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters in the capital Bangkok, adding they would address the motives and official charges against the suspect.

“The alleged offender did not deny any of the charges,” the commissioner-general said. “He thought he wouldn’t be able to get away with it.”

Chakthip also said Prasittichai did not resist arrest and that he “accepted his own mistakes.”

Prasittichai teaches at Wat Phochai School, a primary school located in Singburi, a neighboring province of Lopburi. Local media said he was originally from Lopburi, but police did not confirm this.

Security camera footage from Jan. 10 shows how a man wearing a balaclava shoots at customers and staff while approaching the counter. He then gets on the counter and proceeds to walk up and down, before rummaging through valuables and making off with a handful of jewelry.

Police said the man, who was wielding a gun with a silencer, first shot at a security guard before proceeding with his rampage.

A separate video shows how a child walking by falls to the ground after sustaining a wound to the head before his mother takes him away to find cover. Authorities said the boy died at the hospital.

Out of the more than 10 million firearms in Thailand, only 6 million are legally registered, according to Australian monitoring organization GunPolicy.org. EFE-EPA

lds-ht/tw

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