As Australia hit record high temperatures just a couple of weeks ago, and parts of America are currently hitting records lows, a thick smog has descended on Bangkok.
The air has become so bad in parts of the city that residents are coughing and sneezing up blood because of it. Animals in the city are also reportedly suffering from the poor air quality.
The Thai capital has been blanketed in toxic smog for the past two weeks, with experts suggesting the long term cost of such bad pollution will run into tens of millions of dollars.
The pollution is caused by a number of issues, including vehicles, construction work, burning crops and street food stalls.
One resident, Nutthawut Sirichainarumit, shared an image of the blood that came out when he sneezed.
Two days ago, my nose was hurt when breathing. I sneezed all night and it was the even worse when my sneeze had blood the next morning.
I was totally shocked because I never sneezed blood before in my entire life. I believe the dust is to blame.
Another local, Seine Premmanuspaisal, said:
The polluted air also brings germs and viruses that gradually affect our bodies. Even though you think you’re healthy, this horrible environment is going to disturb you in some way.
Seinne was diagnosed with a lung infection after vomiting and coughing up blood for three days. He had never previously experienced any respiratory problems.
The Thai government has taken some steps to try and fight pollution, including flying drones overhead to spray water. They have also closed 439 schools.
The air has become so bad, on Tuesday, January 29, an asthma sufferer was sent to intensive care with acute bronchitis and hypoxaemia after his eyes started bleeding.
Khun Songsamut said:
I felt like I was going to die. This is because of the pollution. Something must be done.
Pets are suffering from the air too, as recent X-rays of animals taken to veterinary clinics have shown lungs, trachea and alveoli covered in dust.
One pet owner, whose dog was suffering from vocal cord infections due to the pollution, said:
I never leave her outside for a long time but the dust must come through the window I always open for her while she is staying inside.
I hope the story of my dog will alert people about how terrible the pollution is. The dust problem has been going on for a while now and we have no idea when it is going to fade away. All we have to do is protect ourselves and our loved ones.
The governor of Bangkok has reportedly called for help to tackle the pollution, as the method of drones spraying water into the air left residents unimpressed.
The city has also imposed a ban on diesel cars, and forbidden any kind of burning within the city.
The Public Health Ministry have also told people to avoid outdoor activities and exercise, and look to use indoor venues instead.
The UN Environment’s regional coordinator for chemicals, waste and air quality, Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, said that, in the short term, some factories will have to be shut down, and in the long term they must convert to ‘cleaner technology’ and stop any open burning of waste.
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