VIENTIANE, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Lao cabinet has issued an order for urgent action to tackle air pollution following the rise of PM2.5 to unsafe levels.
Forest fires in many areas of Laos have created a large amount of fine dust, known as PM2.5, which is particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, to unprecedented highs.
The government's monthly meeting that concluded on Wednesday, chaired by Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, asked central and local authorities to contain and prevent forest fires.
Deputy Minister and Deputy Head of the Prime Minister's Office Thipphakone Chanthavongsa told a press conference here on Wednesday that the cabinet demanded a prompt response prevent pollution from impacting people's health, the economy and the tourism industry.
Task forces are expected to be promptly assigned to keep a close watch on forest fires, mainly caused by slash-and-burn cultivation, and to patrol the forests.
With air pollution reaching severe and hazardous levels, the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued a notice warning people not to burn any type of garbage, and asked people to reduce outdoor activities as much as possible, and wear a face mask outdoors.