THE Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation said at 7 a.m. this morning (Mar. 13) PM.2.5, tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs, exceeded 224 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) in Mae Hong Son province, Naewna newspaper said.
Provinces where air pollution has worsened include Bangkok and its vicinity, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Ang Thong, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo, Nong Khai, Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram.
The centre gave the following details:
– Northern region mostly exceeded the standard, measured at 58 – 224 µg/m³;
– Northeast exceeded the standard in five areas, measured at 28 – 81 µg/m³;
– Central and Western regions exceeded the standard in five areas, measured at 28 – 64 µg/m³;
– Eastern region exceeded the standard in two areas, measured at 29 – 58 µg/m³;
– Southern region: overall picture is good, measured at 15 – 37 µg/m³;
– Bangkok and its vicinity as measured at monitoring stations at the Civil Service Commission and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration exceeded the standard in one area with the range being 28 – 55μg/m3.
According to Indoor Air Hygiene Institute PM2.5 is used when describing pollutant levels both outdoor and indoor, where health impact from exposure considers amount of PM2.5 over a 24-hour period. Most studies indicate PM2.5 at or below 12 μg/m3 is considered healthy with little to no risk from exposure. If the level goes to or above 35 μg/m3 during a 24-hour period, the air is considered unhealthy and can cause issues for people with existing breathing issues such as asthma. Prolonged exposure to levels above 50 μg/m3 can lead to serious health issues and premature mortality.
Meanwhile the Pollution Control Department’s forecast for March 14-20 says that the poor air quality in Bangkok will gradually start improving from March 16 as southern wind blows through. However residents have to be careful tomorrow and the day after (March 14-15) as the whole city will be cloaked with dust particles.
The 17 northern provinces tend to have high dust levels, both upper and lower zones, during March 14-16.
However there is a chance of some rain in both the North and in Bangkok today.
According to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company that operates AirVisual which is a real-time air quality information platform, at 11.25 a.m today Chiang Mai had the ninth worst air quality in the world reaching 157 US AQI while Bangkok placed 16th with 115 US AQI.
Air pollution images. Top photo: Kasikorn Research Centre, Front Page: Thai Rath