NewsEmergency: Thailand Battles Deadly Air Pollution Crisis as Levels Exceed Standards by...

Emergency: Thailand Battles Deadly Air Pollution Crisis as Levels Exceed Standards by Over 200%

On March 4, 2024, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Air Pollution Problem Solving Communication Center (AMC) released its latest air quality monitoring report, revealing concerning levels of PM2.5 pollutants across various provinces in Thailand. The report, which measured the average dust levels over a 24-hour period, indicated values ranging from 12.4 to 75.6 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³), surpassing the standard limit of 37.5 micrograms/m³.

A total of 36 provinces, including Chiang Rai, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Chiang Mai, and others, were flagged for exceeding the acceptable PM2.5 levels. Notably, the northern region recorded the highest concentrations, with the Wiang Phang Kham Subdistrict in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai Province topping the list for the highest dust values in the country, measuring between 30.6 and 75.6 micrograms/m³.

In the northeast, central, and western regions, PM2.5 levels also exceeded standards, with measurements ranging from 29.6 to 66.5 micrograms/m³. The eastern region saw one area surpassing the standard, measuring between 16.7 and 41.9 micrograms/m³, while the southern region maintained relatively lower levels, ranging from 12.4 to 29.3 micrograms/m³. Bangkok and its surrounding areas, monitored jointly by the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, fell within the moderate range, with measurements ranging from 18.7 to 36.3 micrograms/m³.

Looking ahead, the forecast for the next seven days, from March 5th to March 11th, 2024, suggests a potential decrease in pollution levels in Bangkok and its vicinity. However, the northern provinces may experience an increase in dust levels between March 5th and March 9th, followed by a decreasing trend. Similarly, monitoring is advised in certain northeastern areas, with a likely decrease in pollution levels anticipated between March 9th and March 11th.

According to Thailand Air Quality Index (AQI) The current PM2. 5 concentration in Thailand is 2.9 times above the recommended limit given by the WHO 24 hrs air quality guidelines value. That is an increase of almost 300%. As health concerns loom, the general public is urged to take precautions, such as reducing outdoor activities and using appropriate protective equipment. Those with pre-existing health conditions are advised to limit outdoor exposure further and consult with healthcare professionals if experiencing symptoms. Residents residing in heavily impacted areas are cautioned to avoid outdoor activities altogether or use protective gear. Regular updates on air quality can be accessed through Air4Thai.com and AirBKK applications.

Moreover, experts have noted that prolonged exposure to PM2.5 particles can lead to respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems, and even premature death. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified these particles as carcinogenic, emphasizing the importance of stringent air quality regulations and public awareness campaigns. Additionally, studies have shown a correlation between air pollution and adverse effects on cognitive function, particularly in children and the elderly. Efforts to mitigate air pollution, such as promoting clean energy sources and implementing stricter emissions standards, are crucial for safeguarding public health and the environment.

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