Hazardous air pollution hits Bangkok and Thai provinces
Hazardous air pollution hits Bangkok and Thai provincesLegacy

Bangkok and 11 other provinces in Thailand are currently grappling with hazardous air quality levels, exacerbated by PM2.5 particulate matter exceeding standard thresholds.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, alongside the National Research Council of Thailand, the Pollution Control Department, Kasetsart University, and Chiang Mai University, are monitoring the situation on an hourly basis through satellite data available on the Air4Thai application.

The most severely affected province is Mukdahan with a PM2.5 concentration of 87.7 micrograms per cubic metre, followed by Kalasin with 81.9, Yasothon with 80.3, and Sing Buri with 77.7. Other provinces with red-level air quality impacting human health include Roi Et, Samut Songkhram, Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan, Mahasarakham, Ubon Ratchathani, and Amnat Charoen, all registering values above 75 microgrammes per cubic metre.

In Bangkok, only the Nong Khaem district reported an air quality index in the orange level, considered to be starting to affect health, with a PM2.5 concentration of 49.9 micrograms per cubic metre. The city’s remaining 49 districts range from moderate to good air quality.

Additionally, hotspot analysis by GISTDA, recorded yesterday, revealed 1,133 heat spots across the country, predominantly in national reserve forests (363 spots), conservation areas (303 spots), agricultural areas (194 spots), communities (155 spots), areas under the Agricultural Land Reform Office (112 spots), and along highways (six spots).

The provinces with the highest number of heat spots are Kanchanaburi with 264, Chaiyaphum with 156, and Lampang with 57. Neighbouring countries also report significant heat spots, with Thailand leading at 1,133, followed by Cambodia with 1,001, Myanmar with 833, Vietnam with 456, and Laos with 367, reported KhaoSod.

The Air4Thai app forecasts that PM2.5 levels will continue to remain in the orange level for the next three hours, especially in the northeastern region. Residents are advised to wear masks when outdoors to prevent respiratory health issues. For real-time PM2.5 updates, the public can refer to the Air4Thai application.

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Author: Nattapong Westwood