UK Government to tackle air pollution

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"Air pollution is really a silent killer and many Thais underestimate the danger to their health, so not many people protect themselves by wearing a face mask or installing air purifiers at home", Prof Witsanu said.

Thailand is set to deploy rainmaking planes to seed clouds in an effort to tackle the increasing levels of pollution that has choked the capital in recent weeks.

Air Visual, an independent online air quality index (AQI) monitor, pegged Bangkok at "unhealthy" levels measuring 156AQI on Monday - though numbers have often crept higher in the last two months.

As residents woke up yesterday to yet another day of murky air blanketing their construction-busy city, environment group Greenpeace said Bangkok was now the 10th most polluted city in the world, rivalling some places in China.

However, the Pollution Department played down the dangers of the persistent haze.

People living in areas with high pollution levels in Bangkok should avoid "unnecessary" outdoor activities or wear masks, Prayuth told reporters in Chiang Mai province Monday.

The amount of PM2.5 - airborne dust particles 2.5 microns in diameter or less - exceeded the safe level of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air along roads in 19 places.

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"Thousands of lives are lost every year in the United Kingdom because the air we breathe contains risky particles", said Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, adding the strategy need matching with legislative action.

Ministers predict the strategy - which also includes plans to reduce ammonia emissions from farming - will cut the cost of air pollution to society by £1.7billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3billion every year by 2030 through savings from public health benefits.

Local authorities are cleaning the busiest roads with gallons of water and will spray water over the sky of greater Bangkok to try producing artificial rain.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "We welcome this Clean Air Strategy as a step in the right direction".

"No-one can tackle air pollution alone so it is a duty of Government to act for us all".

The most polluting log burners will be banned within three years while coal could be outlawed under the Government's new air pollution strategy. "Action to protect people's health must be a requirement, not a 'nice to have"'.

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