The Thai capital is suffering under a veil of smog, smoke and haze today with PM2.5 levels the highest they have been this year. Earlier in the day it was listed with the 5th worst air quality of any city in the world. That’s settled down to 7th as of 11am on Friday morning.
But the air pollution is still awful and registering ‘very unhealthy’ in some locations to the west of the city.
The main culprit, today, appears to be fires in northern Cambodia and southern Laos, near the borders with Thailand, and the easterly and north-easterly airflow blowing the smoke towards Bangkok.
Most of the fires are plantation and farmland fires as farmers clear harvested crops and burn the remaining waste.
In northern Thailand, around Chiang Rai and Chang Mai, the enforcement of preventing burning off of crops appears to be working this year with a lot fewer fires, but the government has no control over the situation across the borders in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Here is a real time graphic from NASA showing the current fires bring around the borders of Thailand. You can see the fires in southern Laos and northern Cambodia.