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Phuket governor says go outside, smog is “natural phenomenon”

FILE PHOTO: Flickr/[email protected]

The governor of Phuket has assured residents that there is no cause for alarm as a blanket of smog currently hovers over the island. According to a Phuket News report, Narong Woonciew met with local officials yesterday, during which he described the haze as a “natural phenomenon”.

To be clear, the smog and haze enveloping Phuket and the south of Thailand over the past three days is NOT natural phenomena, it is the residue of smoke blown down from northern Thailand and fires burning across the borders and beyond. Phuket’s Governor has either been misinformed or is unaware of the true nature of Phuket’s current air pollution problem.

SCREENSHOTS: (11am Monday morning, Phuket time)

But the Phuket Governor still offered this explanation…

“It is not a problem of PM 2.5 dust at all, but a natural phenomenon in the summer which is about to change into the rainy season. Therefore, I do not want people to worry. People can still engage in various outdoor activities due to the condition of the area of Phuket, which will have wind blowing all the time.”

According to an official report of the meeting, the governor has ordered relevant agencies to monitor the situation, while insisting it had nothing to do with agricultural burning, but “may be linked to climate change”.

“In addition, Phuket is a tourist city and a residential area, not an agricultural area, so there isn’t much burning, and no hot spots of concern have been found and I have instructed relevant agencies to closely monitor the situation. It is expected that such characteristics may be due to climate change.”

Meanwhile, a report from the Phuket Info Centre, which is operated by the Phuket office of the Ministry of the Interior, has shared photos showing the extent of the air pollution. One image captured by CCTV shows a heavy haze over the island at 6.30am this morning, with a later image showing the Patong headlands as partially obscured around 8.30am.

And despite his downplaying of any health risks, the governor is still urging people with underlying conditions to monitor their health and check for any adverse effects as a result of the haze, a tacit understanding that the ‘haze’ is indeed dangerous.

“The health of people at risk such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, and patients with congenital diseases in the group of respiratory diseases and cardiovascular disease should be monitored. If there are initial symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, eye irritation, the duration of outdoor activities should be reduced for healthcare during this period.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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