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Bangkok uses water cannons to fight air pollution
Water cannons were being used on Monday (January 14) to clean the air and streets in Bangkok as Thai authorities handed out masks in an effort to combat air pollution. The level of hazardous dust particles known as PM 2.5 has exceeded the safe level in 30 of 50 Bangkok's districts for days, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang told reporters at a news conference on Monday. PM 2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and solid particles that can include dust, soot and smoke. It is one of the main pollutants included in measuring the Air Quality Index (AQI). Monday morning's AQI in Bangkok was 180, according to the popular website airvisual.com, which measures levels in cities worldwide. Any level above 150 is considered unhealthy and Bangkok ranked in the top 10 of polluted cities worldwide on Monday. Many shops ran out of protective masks as demand increased over the weekend. Aswin said authorities would handout 10,000 masks around the city to help residents and visitors protect themselves. Pollution in Bangkok has reached unhealthy levels before, usually during the dry season between January and March, but does not usually last for several days. The Department of Pollution Control says diesel fumes from cars contribute 50-60 percent of the pollution while burning rubbish and crops attributed about 35 percent. The government has banned large trucks from entering downtown Bangkok during rush hours, while police have vowed to enforce the law on emission controls.