See More on Facebook

Culture and society

Bangkok grapple with shortage of masks as smog smothers city

The Thai government is trying to resolve a dangerous air pollution problem in Bangkok, by seeding clouds to produce rain and using water cannons to clean streets and the air.


Written by

Updated: January 17, 2019

After spending several days choking on high levels of fine particle dust, many Bangkok residents have opted for masks to protect themselves.

But some were unable to find the N95-grade face masks required and are calling for the authorities to cover the shortage.

Meanwhile, an online poll conducted by The Standard online magazine among 2,200 residents on Monday (Jan 14) and Tuesday revealed that 50.3 per cent wore masks to protect themselves, while the remainder complained they could not find one.

Another poll conducted by the magazine on Twitter found that 53 per cent of the 715 respondents wore a face mask.

Most people responded to the question – “How do you live with PM2.5 (dust particles 2.5 micrometres or smaller in size)?” – by criticising the government for being too slow in dealing with the issue and not having any remedial measures in place.

Many also complained of developing respiratory problems due to the dust.

On Tuesday morning, several people in Lat Phrao Road were seen wearing masks to protect themselves from allergies or health problems. They, too, complained of the shortage of N95 masks and called on the government to ease the shortage.

Similarly masked people were spotted in Sathorn and Silom roads, while pharmacies in the Victory Monument area confirmed a severe shortage of N95 masks.

Meanwhile, joggers in Chatuchak’s Wachirabenchathat Park were also seen wearing masks, in line with official advice that people should protect themselves while outdoors because PM2.5 levels in many areas were beyond the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic m of air.

A man identified only as Krit said he has been wearing an N95 mask during his daily run and is closely following air quality updates and warnings.

Some runners said they have halved their jogging period from the usual two hours, as running any more than an hour will lead to breathing difficulties. They said they will exercise at home if the situation does not improve, while many complained of respiratory irritation and breathing difficulties this week.

Meanwhile, a research report has warned that the severe air pollution problem will take a heavy toll on the country’s economy unless the authorities can effectively clear the smog.

A Kasikorn Research Centre analysis on Tuesday said the smog could cost Thailand 6.6 billion baht (S$280 million) in losses for the healthcare and tourism sectors.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society

Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked


By The Statesman
December 23, 2019

Culture and society

The Chinese version

Muhammad Amir Rana asks what is the Chinese version of Islam.  TENSIONS between China and the US have escalated after the House of Representative’s Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, 2019. The move is of a piece with the allegations of many international media and human rights organisations that China is persecuting the Uighur community and violating their rights — allegations that Beijing has denied. Calling the US action a political move aimed at damaging its international image, China says it is running a deradicalisation programme to mainstream its communities. Read: Amid global outcry, China defends internment camps of minorities in Xinjiang The Chinese claim has not been verified by independent sources and mystery shrouds its deradicalisation or re-education programme. China needs to demonstra


By Asia News Network
December 16, 2019

Culture and society

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Asia News Network
December 13, 2019

Culture and society

Nepal moves up in Human Development Index but still lags behind in South Asia

Nepal’s human development index of 0,579 indicates that people are living longer, are more educated and have greater incomes, according to the Human Development Report. Despite global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and disease, a ‘new generation of inequalities’ indicates that many societies are not working as they should and Nepal is not an exception, according to a new human development report released on Tuesday. The old inequalities were based on access to health services and education whereas the new generation of inequalities is based on technology, education and the climate, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report. “Previously, we talked about wealth as a major driver for inequality. Now, countries like Nepal are in another inequality trap and that concerns


By The Kathmandu Post
December 12, 2019

Culture and society

Taiwan among top 10 study destinations for U.S. students

Thailand and Singapore among other Asian destinations. China welcomed the highest number of U.S. students last year, followed by Japan and India in second and third places, respectively, according to a recent survey about exchange students in Asia. South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia rounded up the top 10 list of the most popular Asian countries among U.S. students. According to AsiaExchange, “The high level of education, low exposure to crime, economic freedom and good healthcare system are a few examples of why Taiwan is ranked 2nd on the annual Global Peace Index.” It’s also very safe to live in Taiwan, as crime rates are low, the Website stressed, noting that Taiwan’s focus on human rights, gender equality and freedom of speech has made it a top destination for education. Taiwan, whose institutions are strong and reliable, has remained la


By Warren Fernandez
December 12, 2019

Culture and society

Relentless against child marriage

Farida Yesmin wins an award for her work to prevent child marriage. It was a rainy day in July 2018. As the evening fell, someone called Farida Yesmin, upazila nirbahi officer of Netrakona’s Barhatta, over her phone and informed her that a child marriage was about to take place in Kawrashi, a remote village in the upazila near the Bangladesh-India border. Farida immediately called the police and left for the village in the dark of the night amid rain and thunderstorms. The road was so bad that at one point, the UNO and her team had to leave their vehicles. They walked about two kilometres to find the girl’s home. “As we reached the spot, a local leader tried to stop us. But despite all these hurdles, we were able to prevent the marriage,” Farida said while recalling how she and her team stopped a staggering 59 child marriages after she joined as the Barhatta UNO on May 9, 2017. She


By Daily Star
December 2, 2019