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HOME // National News // Unacceptable levels of air pollution in Thailand’s north and south, more to come

Unacceptable levels of air pollution in Thailand’s north and south, more to come

Smoke and air pollution around Thailand
Smoke and air pollution around Thailand

The Pollution Control Department is reporting that most northern provinces in Thailand are experiencing an unsafe level of PM2.5 dust on Wednesday, with measurements ranging from 61 to 200 microns, way above acceptable or ‘safe’ levels of air pollution. The situation is expected to worsen in the coming days.

In comparison, the levels of PM2.5 in Bangkok and its suburbs are between 39 and 114 microns, which is still higher than the safe limit of 50 microns in Thailand but lower than Northern provinces today.

In the north-east region, only five areas are reported to have excessive levels of PM2.5, with measurements ranging from 23 to 130 microns.

Screenshot from iqair.com shows the level of ‘unhealthy’ air pollution around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai today.

Most central and western provinces also have high levels of air pollution, with measurements ranging from 39 to 67 microns. In contrast, only three areas in the east report excessive particulate matter in the atmosphere, with measurements ranging from 33 to 52 microns.

Most of the intense air pollution between January and May each year – aka. ‘the burning season’ – is caused by forest fires and man-made plantation fires as farmers use the cheapest way of getting rid of waste from their harvesting by burning the refuse.

In Phuket, air quality is at some of the island’s highest readings at this time of the year, providing a haze disguising many of Phuket’s regular hillside and mountainous features.

This is today’s Fire Maps image from NASA, showing all the current fires in the region. The smoke and smog affecting Thailand is floating down from the fires in Cambodia with the prevailing north easterly winds, across the Gulf of Thailand and across the peninsula to the Andaman coastline, including Phuket.

Monitoring around Phuket today from iqair.com shows the high levels of smoke and air pollution which are readily visible today.

For those living in areas with high or hazardous levels of PM2.5, the pollution control department advises people to avoid outdoor activities altogether and to wear face masks if it is necessary to go outside. Meanwhile, for those living in areas with less pollution, it is still recommended to reduce outdoor activities and wear face masks while going outside.

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