Director General of the ministry’s Natural Resource and Environment Research Institute, Mr Vilasak Choundala, said yesterday the institute had stationed equipment to monitor the quality of air in four locations in Vientiane since Monday.
“The purpose of this equipment is to test whether the proportion of particulates in the air is below the set national standard,” he said, adding that the findings would be used as a reference for the government when considering the introduction of measures to keep the air clean.
The institute’s decision to test the air quality in Vientiane came after some Asian cities experienced rising levels of particulates.
According to a report in the Bangkok Post this week, pollutions levels in many parts of Bangkok and surrounding cities are unsafe.
Mr Vilasak said air quality monitoring in Vientiane was a part of the institute’s yearly plan, adding that the tests had no connection with the current air pollution in Thailand.
He said the institute had been monitoring air quality for the last three years and that tests had been carried out in many parts of the country.
Mr Vilasak said the previous results of air quality tests had been very positive. Despite the high level of pollution detected in isolated places on occasions, the overall situation was very satisfactory.
“Overall, the quality of air in Laos compared to some cities in Asia is very good,” he said, attributing this to the fact that Laos has fewer vehicles and far less heavy industry compared to other Asian cities.
The government’s policy was to maintain air quality at safe levels so it had assigned the institute to monitor the amount of particulates and determine measures to keep the air clean.
“I report our findings to the government so that they can introduce measures to maintain air quality at an acceptable level,” he said.
Other officials from the natural resource and environment ministry said the air quality in Laos compared to other cities was very good, adding that this aspect of Laos should be highlighted when advertising the country’s attractions to tourists.
They said Laos had plenty of forests which helped to keep the air clean and made it attractive to foreign tourists wanting to get away from city life.
With financial support from development partners, Laos is drafting a green growth strategy which aims to develop Laos in a more environmentally sustainable manner.