Doctors have urged people not to burn joss paper as offerings and limit incense-burning during Chinese New Year celebrations this week to prevent hazardous emissions.
The smog situation in Bangkok and its nearby provinces showed improvement yesterday and the Pollution Control Department (PCD) even predicted that the level of very fine dust particles - PM2.5 - in the air for Chinese New Year would not exceed the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre. Health experts, however, warned that the widespread burning of Chinese joss papers and incense during the New Year celebrations could worsen air pollution and pose severe health threats.
Health Department director-general Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn cautioned that exposure to air pollution from the burning of Chinese joss papers and incenses can cause acute sicknesses such as eye irritation, sneezing, breathing difficulties and headache, while prolonged exposure to the toxic smoke could even cause cancer.
This kind of air pollution is very harmful to health and should be avoided by everyone, Panpimol said. He added that children, elders, pregnant women and people with respiratory diseases were even more sensitive to the toxic smoke from the burning of Chinese joss papers and incense, so they should avoid inhaling the smoke at all cost.