“The PM10 reading we got at 8am this morning was about 53 but by 2pm it was over 170,” Akkarawat Hirunphun, director of the Phuket-based Regional Environmental Office 15, told The Phuket News.
Despite the fact that the daily PM10 average is not yet reaching 120, which is considered a public health hazard, the high reading today could be dangerous for the young, old, and those with heart or respiratory complication.
“People with breathing difficulties, the elderly, children, pregnant women and those who partake in outdoor sports should stay indoors and refrain from doing their outdoor activities for a while.
“If it necessary for you to go out please make sure that you wear a mask and have medicine ready,” Mr Akkarawt added.
“Masks are available free of charge from most hospitals, and it is better to be prepared for unforeseeable situations,” added Dr Bancha Kakong, Director of PPHO.
V/Gov Somkiat Sankaosutthirak also noted that the haze may be causing problems to some locals but stated that it will get better soon.
“We do not want people to be panic. This haze occurs in Phuket almost every year, but now the fires in Indonesia are calming down so the air condition in Phuket will be better soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s premier has urged Indonesia to act against those to blame for raging fires that have blanketed Southeast Asia in haze for weeks, as Malaysian schools closed again today (Oct 5) over health concerns.
The regional environmental crisis has caused flights and major events to be cancelled, and forced tens of thousands of people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to seek treatment for respiratory problems.
"They [plantation companies] are operating there, we want Indonesia to take action," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama late yesterday (Oct 4).
“Only Indonesia alone can gather evidence and convict the companies concerned,” Mr Najib told AFP.
Additional reporting by AFP