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Health warnings issued after Sumatra fire haze smothers Phuket

PHUKET: Local weather experts are not yet willing to estimate how long the Sumatra forest fire haze will continue blanket Phuket, but the head of the regional environmental office urges people with breathing difficulties to take precautions.

weatherenvironmenthealth
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Friday 18 September 2015, 04:38PM


Health warnings have been issued as the Sumatra forest fire haze has returned to smother Phuket. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Health warnings have been issued as the Sumatra forest fire haze has returned to smother Phuket. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

“We expect the haze to cover Phuket for at least the coming few days,” Pornsri Suthanarak, the director of the Regional Environmental Office, told The Phuket News today (Sept 18).

The air quality – as determined by the particle count – is still considered “Medium”, she added.

“However, people with breathing conditions should take precautions, as some people have informed our office that they have had slight difficulty in breathing,” Ms Pornsri said.

“If is is not necessary, do not leave the house. People with breathing problems should stay indoors and avoid exposing themselves, and we urge asthmatics to keep their aspirators handy.”

Visibility across Phuket today dropped to five kilometres, reported the Thai meteorological Department (TMD), after the haze began smothering the island yesterday (Sept 17), reducing visibility to seven kilometres. (See report here.)

Chokchai Phattharapong, a meteorologist at the TMD’s Southwest Coast office in Phuket, declined to estimate how many days it would take for the air to clear.

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“It depends on the wind,” he said.

The Singapore National Environment Agency (Snea) today reported that 18 hotspots were detected on Sumatra yesterday (Sept 17), though the haze over the city-state is now easing, it said. (See here.)

“The 24-hour PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the high end of the Moderate range and the low end of the Unhealthy range,” Snea reported

“Healthy persons should reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. The elderly, pregnant women and children should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion. Persons who are not feeling well, especially the elderly and children, and those with chronic heart or lung conditions, should seek medical attention.”

Snea ramped up its daily reports on haze after Singapore and Malaysia suffered greatly on Monday (Sept 14).

Last Sunday an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur had to be re-routed to Phuket before entering Malaysian air space due to severe haze blanketing Malaysia (See story here.)

 

 

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