Nearly 200,000 people admitted to hospitals as Bangkok chokes on pollution

March 7, 2023 the 69-meter tall giant Buddha statue of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen temple is seen amid smoggy conditions due to air pollution in Bangkok. AFP

BANGKOK — Nearly 200,000 people in Thailand have been admitted to hospital because of air pollution this week, officials have said, with Bangkok shrouded in a harmful haze.

The Thai capital, home to an estimated 11 million people and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, has been blanketed for days by an unpleasant yellow-grey mix of vehicle fumes, industrial emissions and smoke from agricultural burning.

More than 1.3 million people have fallen sick in the kingdom since the start of the year as a result of air pollution, with nearly 200,000 admitted to hospital this week alone, according to the public health ministry.

Kriangkrai Namthaisong, a doctor at the ministry, on Wednesday urged children and pregnant women to stay indoors.