Smog has covered Bangkok in recent weeks (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 
Bangkok (VNA) – Air pollution has forced the suspension of classes at private schools across Bangkok this week, though the Pollution Control Department (PCD) on January 23 reported fewer areas with unsafe levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller.

Kindergarten to secondary students in many districts in Bangkok, including Bang Khun Thien, Nong Khaem and Thawi Wattana, are on unscheduled holiday through January 25 after the PM2.5 level topped 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air on January 22, much higher than the safety limit of 50.

The Education Ministry has issued no directives about temporary school closures, leaving it to the discretion of administrators.

If the PM2.5 amount is high in their areas, schools may suspend classes and activities, said Thailand’s Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn on January 23. 

However, Piyasakol said the ministry had no plan to order blanket closures, adding the dust amount fluctuates all the time. Forecasts are not accurate either because wind is a factor, he noted.

Feeble winds and a lack of precipitation were blamed for the poor air quality in five of the six metro provinces including Bangkok, leading to talk of cracking down on vehicle emissions.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said it will purchase more green buses that use a cleaner bio-diesel blend. Police have set up 20 checkpoints to prevent large trucks from entering Bangkok in rush hours.-VNA