Air pollution has become a major concern in Thailand as the haze pollution has exceeded safe levels in 36 provinces, mainly in the North. Bangkok and surrounding provinces are also currently blanketed in smog, which is expected to continue for two more days.
This has led the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to advise residents to wear face masks and avoid outdoor activities. The BMA warned that fine-dust levels climbed above safe levels in several areas of the city on Tuesday morning.
Air-quality monitoring stations have reported that the level of PM2.5, which refers to particulate matter under 2.5 micrometres in diameter, ranged from 61 to 93 micrograms per cubic metre (mcg) of air in 69 areas of the city on Tuesday morning.
Any level above 50mcg is considered unsafe as long-term exposure is linked to chronic diseases, including lung and heart problems.
“The BMA is urging city residents who have difficulty breathing, eye inflammation, chest pain, or headaches after going outside to see a doctor.”
To raise awareness, the BMA has provided a list of the ten areas in Bangkok with the highest levels of PM2.5.
The Bueng Kum district office had the highest level at 93mcg, followed by Seacon Square in Prawet district and Chaloem Phrakiat Ror 9 Park in Minburi district, both at 87mcg. Other areas with high levels of PM2.5 include Lat Krabang Hospital, Khlong Sam Wa district office, Nong Chock district office, Soi Phetkasem 81 in Nong Khaem district, Suan Siam Intersection in Khan Na Yao district, Big C department store in Bang Na district, and Bank of Ayudhaya Head Office in Yannawa district.
Air quality can be checked daily on the AirBKK application, www.airbkk.com, or at iqair.com. It is essential to stay updated on air quality and take necessary precautions to protect oneself from harmful pollutants.
In addition to industrial activities, agricultural fires have been identified as a leading cause of haze pollution in Thailand. According to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda), satellite images showed 6,701 hotspots in Myanmar, 2,583 in Thailand, 2,125 in Cambodia, 1,434 in Laos, 147 in Vietnam, and two in Malaysia on Saturday alone.
The screen shot of the live satellite representation indicates that most of the fires are happening in border areas outside of Thailand, especially in northern Cambodia, Myanmar’s north west and Laos.
Exposure to PM2.5 air pollution can have severe health impacts and may cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is essential to take preventive measures and reduce exposure to such pollutants.