Thai students wear face masks Wednesday amid heavy air pollution in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Narong Sangnak/EPA-EFE
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Hundreds of Bangkok schools will be closed until at least next week due to toxic smog choking Thailand's capital, officials said.
Under the instructions of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Bangkok Governor Police General Aswin Kwanmuang ordered all 437 schools run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to be closed from noon Wednesday, declaring Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 holidays to project students from the ultra-fine dust in the air, The Thaiger reported.
The move will prevent students from being subjected to the smog while having the knock-on effect of reducing car emissions in the transportation of the students to and from school, Kwanmuang said.
"When the schools are closed, parents don't have to leave homes to send their kids off to schools," Kwanmuang said, CNN reported.
The situation will be re-assessed on Sunday to see if the schools should remain closed.
Bangkok has experienced sever pollution over the last few weeks, but it worsened Thursday morning as the Pollution Control Department measured 41 Greater Bangkok areas as having unsafe levels of airborne particulates of 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. The organization predicts this to be maintained until at least Feb. 4, The Thaiger reported.
To combat the situation, Kwanmuang asked for help from experts Thursday morning during the unveiling of 50 drones that will spray a mixture of water and molasses over populated areas to try and remove some of the particulates from the air.
""I don't know everything, so I urge experts to give their input so that I can get things done," he said during the ceremony outside city hall.
The government has already tried drenching the streets with water, reducing traffic and even seeding rain clouds, but to little effect.