The news follows the PPHO issuing an advisory on Sunday (Oct 4) urging children, the elderly and any persons with breathing difficulties to stay indoors. (See story here.)
“We receive updates from the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Phuket Office, every day,” PPHO Director Dr Bancha Kakong told The Phuket News today (Oct 6).
“So far the PCD has reported that the levels of sulfur oxide in the haze from the fires has yet to reach dangerous levels here. We have not received any reports of people admitted to hospital for respiratory problems, and the situation is not serious enough to ask schools to close.”
In the meantime, however, government hospitals are handing out free face masks.
“As a precaution, children, the elderly and people with respiratory conditions can receive free Nexcare masks,” Dr Bancha said.
“Other people should not need masks, but we still urge all people to stay indoors and especially not to exercise outdoors at this time.
“If the situation changes, we will inform the public as soon as possible,” he said.
However, as of 6pm on Tuesday, after The Phuket News spoke with Dr Bancha, the Division of Air Quality Data, under the PCD’s Air Quality and Noise Management Bureau (aqmthai.com) reported that Phuket air-quality had deteriorated.
After recording a PM10 reading of 140 in the early hours of Tuesday, the air had cleared to safe reading 80 by early afternoon.
By nightfall, however, the haze blanketed the island and sent the PM10 spiralling back up to a categorically “Unhealthy” reading of 107. (See here.)
The “Unhealthy” range is described as “Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”