Northern Thailand battles severe air pollution as Bangkok breathes clear
Northern Thailand battles severe air pollution as Bangkok breathes clearLegacy

Seventeen provinces in Thailand’s northern and northeastern regions are grappling with hazardous levels of air pollution, as reported by the country’s Air Pollution Crisis Management Centre (ACMC). In stark contrast, Bangkok enjoys clear skies, free from the dangerous PM2.5 particles, offering residents the chance to breathe easily. Over the next seven days, from February 23 to February  29, the situation is expected to improve.

The ACMC, part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has been monitoring air quality across Thailand and noted that the 24-hour average levels of PM2.5 ranged from 10.7 to 63.9 microgrammes per cubic meter (µg/m³), with the standard threshold set at no more than 37.5 µg/m³.

The standard has been exceeded in 17 provinces, including Chiang Rai, Nan, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Mukdahan, Kalasin, Amnat Charoen, Yasothon, Ubon Ratchathani, and Si Sa Ket.

In the northern region, 12 areas recorded PM2.5 levels between 20.3 and 51.9 µg/m³, all exceeding the safety standards. The northeastern region saw nine areas with readings between 23.3 and 63.9 µg/m³, also above the recommended levels.

Conversely, central, western, and eastern parts of Thailand maintained good air quality with measurements ranging from 11.2 to 28.9 µg/m³ and 12.5 to 28.7 µg/m³ respectively. The southern region, known for its pristine environments, recorded excellent air quality with levels between 8.9 and 26.0 µg/m³, reported KhaoSod.

Bangkok and its vicinities, monitored by the Pollution Control Department in collaboration with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, also reported good air quality with PM2.5 levels between 10.7 and 27.9 µg/m³.

The seven-day forecast indicates a declining trend in PM2.5 levels for Bangkok and surrounding areas, although some locations should remain cautious. For the northern provinces, a decrease is anticipated around February 25 to February  26.

The northeastern region expects improvements from February 23 to February 24, and the eastern region should see better air from February 23 to 29. The south is predicted to continue enjoying good air quality.

Health guidelines advise the public to be vigilant about their health, to reduce outdoor activities, or to use protective gear. Those with special health concerns should limit their time outdoors and also consider protection. In case of health issues, a medical consultation is recommended.

The public can stay informed on air quality through websites like Air4Thai.com and airbkk.com, as well as the Air4Thai and AirBKK mobile applications.

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Author: Nattapong Westwood