BANGKOK • Residents of Bangkok, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, were warned yesterday that the city’s air quality had hit dangerous levels, just days after the pollution control agency appealed to residents to wear face masks.
Air pollution in the Thai capital has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, with residents complaining of smog and respiratory problems. Some schools were closed yesterday while others kept children indoors.
Air Quality Index (AQI) formulas usually include up to six main pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone.
Dozens of Indonesians hospitalised due to smoke from forest fire
Jakarta (VNA) – Dozens of people have been taken to hospitals for respiratory problems due to thick smoke caused by forest fires in Aceh province of Indonesia.
Some schools in Meulaboh city suspended classes on July 26 after fires destroyed 70 hectares of forests in the province last week.
The country’s national disaster agency recommended people monitor their cultivation land and not reclaim and burn forests. It also warned of an escalating risk of forest fires as the dry season is expected to continue for several months.
There are about 180 forest fire hotspots in six Indonesian provinces, significantly lower than in 2015.
Last year, studies by the US’s Harvard and Columbia Universities estimated that the 2015 smog outbreak may have caused more than 100,000 premature deaths.
Forest fires occur mainly on Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo islands with the haze blanketing many parts of the country, affecting public health and triggering crisis with neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia.-VNA
Indonesia assures ASEAN neighbours a haze-free 2017
Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Indonesia has assured that there will be no transboundary haze problems plaguing Southeast Asia’s skyline this year, said Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry advisor Arief Yuwono.
Speaking at the 19th Technical Working Group and Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, he said that the prediction was based on 2016’s record as the year saw almost zero recurrence of haze.
Singapore reported only one day of haze while Malaysia, three days, he said, noting that in 2017, Indonesia already made observation and comparison to the previous year.
Arief Yuwono added that with a weaker El Nino and the system already activated on the ground, Indonesia anticipates that the country can repeat its performance in 2016.
Indonesia has also successfully implemented stringent measures to curb forest fires following complaints from its neighbouring countries in 2015.
At the meeting, representatives from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore said these countries stay ready to help Indonesia cope with emergencies if requested, and reaffirmed their commitment to working towards a Haze Free ASEAN by 2020.-VNA
Ministry orders expanded forest-fire protection in dry season
HCM City (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has instructed the People’s Committees of all provinces and cities to increase forest-fire protection and to make it a main task during the dry season.
Temperatures in the first half of the year are expected to be higher than the average of previous years, and rainfall will be 10 or 20 percent lower compared to the average of previous years, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting and the ministry’s Department of Forest Protection.
In the next few months, many places in the country are expected to remain dry, increasing the risk of forest fires, especially in the northwest, Central Highlands, and south-central and southern provinces.
Forest fires have occurred in northern provinces this year, causing great damage to forests and threatening residents’ property and lives.
The ministry has asked all People’s Committees to instruct agencies such as forest rangers, police and military forces to cooperate in forest-fire protection.
Agencies should be prepared with specific plans, equipment and forces to ensure timely action when forest fires occur, the ministry said.-VNA