Michael Gove to ban most polluting wood stoves and open fires

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The weather modification technique involves dispersing chemicals into the air to aid cloud condensation, which should in theory result in rain.

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.

Reasons for the persistent smog include combustion exhaust from traffic-strewn roads, the burning of fields by farmers outside the city, and pollutants from factories.

As Thais woke up on Monday morning to another day of murky air blanketing its bustling construction-filled capital, environment group Greenpeace said Bangkok was now the 10th most polluted in the world, rivalling some cities in China.

As of Monday morning, the worldwide Air Quality Index's average ranking for the capital was 183, or "unhealthy", though some areas such as Saphan Khwai and Lat Yao as of 10am were ranked at "hazardous" levels of 370 and 403, respectively. It said that Bangkok's particulate matter (PM) figure is high but it is not a crisis yet.

He said Bangkok's PM2.5 levels recently peaked at 102 microgrammes per cubic metre and on Monday was sitting under 90.

"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.

In a landmark decision, High Court judges said the government's failure to require action from 45 local authorities with illegal levels of air pollution in their area was "unlawful".

His research on pollution-related health costs in 2017 found that every microgram of PM10 beyond the safe limit will cost Bangkok's inhabitants up to THB18.42 billion (US$577 million) in medical expenses.

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

In recent weeks, municipal workers have sprayed water on the roads and into the air in Bangkok to help clear the smog.

Still, people wearing face masks remain a rare sight around the Thai capital.

He warned air pollution poses the "single greatest environmental threat to human health". Long exposure can cause respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, he said.

The most polluting log burner and open fire fuels will be banned as part of an ambitious strategy to tackle air pollution announced by the Environment Secretary.

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