PM2.5 air pollution levels in 16 northern and northeastern provinces of Thailand have surpassed the 50-micron safety threshold (recently revised down to 37 by the Thai authorities), with three areas in Chiang Mai and Lampang reaching a dangerous level, according to the Pollution Control Department (PCD).
PM 2.5, or particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter, can pose significant health risks as it can penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems, as well as various other illnesses.
The PCD’s air quality report shows excessive levels of PM 2.5 in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Mukdahan, Kalasin, Roi-et, Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket provinces.
The three worst areas are in the Hot and Chiang Dao districts of Chiang Mai and Mueang district of Lampang, with PM 2.5 readings of 185, 136, and 108 microns respectively, according to Thai PBS World.
It is recommended that residents in affected areas limit their exposure to outdoor air and take precautions to protect their health, such as wearing masks and staying indoors when the pollution levels are high.
The government and relevant organisations are being continually urged to take action to address the issue of air pollution and reduce its impact on public health. The evidence from NASA’s fire maps shows that much of the fires are burning outside of Thailand’s borders, creating the bulk of the problems of smoke and haze, particularly for the larger residential areas of northern Thailand.
The air pollution maps from iqair.com show the hazardous state of the air pollution in the north today. And the further you head south., the better the air quality.
Screengrabs from iqair.com