Bangkok has been hit by a thick smog so bad that residents have been coughing and sneezing up blood.
The city’s pollution problem has got to such a state that even pets are suffering from illnesses caused by the smog.
A thick cloud of toxic smog made up of dangerous PM2.5 particles has become lodged in the lungs and blanketed the Thai capital for the last fortnight.
Experts have warned that the long term cost of the pollution caused by vehicles, construction projects, burning crops and street food BBQs, could run into tens of millions of dollars.
But as pictures posted on social media by citizens show, residents and animals have already been badly affected – sneezing and coughing blood into their face masks.
A Bangkok resident suffering from blood-shot eyes due to the thick smog that has blanketed the city
Traffic makes its way along a road as heavy smog lingers in the air in Bangkok yesterday
Office worker, Nutthawut Sirichainarumit, shared a photo of blood in his hand which came out after he sneezed on January 15 saying that it was caused by the dust clouds.
He said: ‘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, was shocked to be diagnosed with a lung infection after vomiting and coughing in blood for three days as he never had a history of respiratory disease before.
He 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.’
Nutthawut Sirichainarumit (left) suffered a nose bleed from the dust cloud. It was so bad her face mask became covered in blood (right)
Even pets such as rabbits have suffered from the hazardous effects of the Bangkok smog
The Thai government has closed 439 schools and taken increasingly bizarre steps to try and fight the pollution – including today flying drones to spray water. But the smog has continued.
On Tuesday an asthma patient living the city was sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit with acute bronchitis and hypoxaemia after his eyes were critically bleeding.
Khun Songsamut said: ‘I felt like I was going to die. This is because of the pollution. Something must be done.’
The Bangkok haze has continued to worsen and dozens of cases of sick animals have emerged.
A veterinarian from Pet & Aquatic Animal Hospital said the owner of a rabbit named Jubuu brought her pet to the hospital with blood on its nose.
The vet posted onlin said: ‘Jubuu has a history of chronic dust allergy and she cannot stop sneezing.
Khun Songsamut (left) in hospital suffering from pollution sickness. Residents across the city have been coughing up blood
Many commuters and pedestrians have begun wearing face masks to combat the buildup of particles in the atmosphere from still air and heavy traffic
‘We look into her nose with a microscope and her nasal cavity is red and swollen.’
Jubuu’s owner, Oil, and the vet agreed that it must have been poor air pollution because her house was covered with the smog for weeks.
Many pet owners were not aware that it could affect their beloved animals. A week ago, a female poodle was taken to the emergency after losing her voice for several days.
The X-ray film showed her lungs, trachea, and alveoli were covered with dust causing the breathing difficulty and vocal cord infection.
The owner 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.’
Bangkok’s governor today appealed for help to battle the toxic smog shrouding the capital as the deployment of drones left Bangkok residents unimpressed.
An officer from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration uses agricultural drones to spray a water based solution in the air during the operation in an attempt to ease the effects of heavy smog
Smog lingers over the city as heavy air pollution continues to affect Bangkok today
The murky haze has led to criticism from the public over the government’s response, which has veered from playing down the problem to abruptly shutting schools.
Authorities have seeded clouds to provoke rain, sprayed overpasses with water to catch micro-pollutants, and even urged people not to burn incense ahead of Chinese New Year.
Troops have also been asked to inspect factories across the country.
Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang compounded the sense of frustration by calling on ‘all sectors’ to find a solution.
‘I don’t know everything, so I’m inviting everyone to help,’ he said Thursday, in response to questions from reporters about the effectiveness of the drones.
‘If we do nothing, people will criticise us for not taking any action.’
His plea comes a day after he declared Bangkok a ‘control area’, closing hundreds of schools until Friday and announcing a ban on cars that use diesel and burning of any kind within the city.
Violators run the risk of three-month jail sentences and fines.
Junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Wednesday stepped up rhetoric, appealing to Bangkok residents to carpool and for the army to ‘check’ factories in all 76 provinces.
‘I will ask the army to go and check every factory…and directly report to me,’ the premier said.
‘People have complained that I don’t do this, I don’t do that, and children are coughing until blood comes out.’
Yesterday the country’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered for the closure of 437 schools after officials said the toxic smog would continue until next Monday.
It comes as the Public Health Ministry said people should refrain from outdoor activities and exercise, and look instead for indoor venues.
Many commuters and pedestrians have begun wearing face masks to combat the buildup of particles in the atmosphere from still air and heavy traffic.
Flower power: A flower vendor waits for customers wearing a face mask in Bangkok today
Bangkok’s dangerous air pollution makes it vital for the government to take ‘decisive action’, said UN Environment’s regional coordinator for chemicals, waste and air quality Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida.
She said a short-term solution would be to shut down the most severe factory polluters, but that ultimately ‘factories will have to convert to cleaner technology and open burning of waste must be stopped’.
Authorities remain tense over growing gripes about the haze and the government’s risible response, which has started to cloud political debate and worry officials about its impact on tourism during the high season.
Thai police on Thursday announced the arrest of a man for allegedly posting ‘fake news’ online after he said a woman had died from the airborne particles.
Charged under the Computer Crime Act, 36-year-old Wattana Pitanwattanathitikul will face up to five years in jail if convicted.
‘This message not only caused panic among members of the public, but it could also cause economic losses in terms of tourism,’ said police spokesman Colonel Siriwat Deephor.