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|2||Nong Chok, Bangkok|
|3||Sangkhla Buri, Kanchanaburi|
|4||Bang Khon Thi, Samut Songkhram|
|5||Lat Krabang, Bangkok|
|6||Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok|
|7||Bangkok Noi, Bangkok|
|8||Bang Bon, Bangkok|
|9||Samut Songkhram, Samut Songkhram|
|10||Khlong San, Bangkok|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 42* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Mae Chaem is currently 2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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Good 42 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 2|
Moderate 57 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 3|
Moderate 55 US AQI
|Sunday, Jun 4|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Monday, Jun 5|
Good 45 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 6|
Good 47 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 7|
Moderate 52 US AQI
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Observing the air pollution levels in early 2022, it can be seen that Mae Chaem is undergoing some fairly severe spikes in its pollution readings. In late February, US AQI readings of 162 were on record, placing Mae Chaem into the 'unhealthy' air quality rating bracket, which as the name indicates, can cause a large variety of adverse health issues amongst the general population, which will be discussed in further detail in the following question. The PM2.5 concentration (particles under 2.5 micrometers, this small size making them one of the most dangerous forms of pollutants in the air) was found to be at over 15 times the World Health Organization's (WHO's) safe exposure guidelines. As such, the air in Mae Chaem is very polluted, and will likely remain this way for the following months until the causes of more severe air pollution (namely, slash and burn farming) start to abate.
Air pollution exposure in Mae Chaem can be extremely detrimental to one’s health, so not only is it dangerous to individuals who live in Mae Chaem, but it can also have long-lasting effects that can cause a myriad of health issues in the next generation due to damage to the environment, as well as residual pollutants being left in the soil and water, as well as making their way into the food chain and thus ending up in people. Some more common health issues include dry coughs and accompanying chest infections, along with some ailments that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket. These include asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia, all of which can be both caused, and made significantly worse by breathing excessive (or even smaller) amounts of pollution in Mae Chaem. Other issues include early deaths linked directly to pollution exposure, with terminal illnesses such as various forms of cancer contributing to this. Heart attacks, strokes and many other pulmonary or cardiac issues may present themselves, displaying just how dangerous air pollution exposure can truly be.
Those who are most likely to suffer from negative health effects in Mae Chaem include young children and babies, along with pregnant mothers, with many pollutants having properties that can disrupt proper growth (both physical and cognitive) and cause a large number of lifelong health issues. Others within Mae Chaem also include the elderly, those with poor immune systems as well as those with pre-existing health conditions or a sensitive disposition towards certain chemical pollutants or particles.
Some more prominent pollutants that can be found in areas around Mae Chaem as well as throughout the rest of Thailand include ones that mainly stem from a large number of combustion sources present. Open burn fires, combustion from vehicle engines as well as boilers in factories and other similar industrial sites are counted amongst some of the more prominent causes of polluted air in Mae Chaem. Whilst the aforementioned open burn fires, or slash and burn farming as it is more commonly referred to, are of much greater concern areas that have a higher concentration of farmland within the country, they can still be found around various areas of the surrounding region, and can cause large amounts of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and black carbon to be released into the atmosphere, along with the other pollutants that go into calculating the US AQI aggregate.
The chemicals used to calculate this US AQI figure include nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, as well as the two main forms of particle pollution, PM2.5 and PM10. Of these two, the smaller PM2.5 is well known as the far more dangerous, due to its minute size of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter allowing it to bypass the bodies defense systems and lodge deep within the tissue of the lungs (with more on this being discussed in the following health issues question). PM2.5 and some forms of PM10 can consist of materials such as water droplets and vapor, along with a variety of other liquids that can be aerosolized. Other materials include mold and fungal spores, bacteria, metals, nitrates and sulfates, along with finely ground silica dust, which can have a carcinogenic effect when inhaled. Some examples of the aforementioned VOCs include chemical compounds such as benzene, styrene, methylene chloride, toluene, xylene and formaldehyde. Their volatile nature allows them to maintain a gaseous state at much lower temperatures, thus making them considerably easier to breathe, and would be found prevalently around inhabited areas of Mae Chaem, due to their release from everything from fires, cars, factories as well as even from household items. VOCs are one of the main sources of indoor air pollution and can emanate from products such as glue, paint, varnish, as well as aerosols such as deodorant, scented candles and other toiletries. These are some of the more prevalent air pollutants that may be found around Mae Chaem, with certain areas such as busy roads and intersections that see a high level of rush hour traffic having higher concentrations of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone and black carbon. Extra care should be taken around such areas, and wearing fine particle filtering masks can aid greatly in the reduction of hazardous material inhalation.
The main causes of higher levels of air pollution in Mae Chaem come mainly from vehicles, with a large number of cars, motorbikes as well as heavy-duty trucks and lorries all giving out pollution and noxious fumes, particularly if the fuel being used is of lower quality or the vehicle itself is worn down and aged. Other sources of air pollution present in Mae Chaem include emissions from power plants and factories, road repairs and construction sites (as well as poorly paved roads also contributing to excessive amounts of dust and finely ground materials being thrown into the air), along with instances of smoke from the slash and burn farming sites being blown over Mae Chaem from neighboring provinces and cities in the northern region of Thailand. The use of fossil fuels in power plants, factories and other industrial sites can give off a variety of different pollutants, some of which will be mentioned in the following question regarding which types of pollution can be found in the air in Mae Chaem. It is worth noting however that the more extreme spikes in air pollution are most likely to come from either natural disaster fires or man-made ones whereby vast swathes of forest or farmland are purposely set alight to clear crops and trees and return nutrients to the soil. Pollution from vehicles and factories can be considered as more ambient, or year-round causes due to them taking place throughout much of the year. Meanwhile, sudden fires can cause the PM2.5 and US AQI levels to skyrocket, and as such, they are the main concerns to watch out for in regards to the level of cleanliness in the air in Mae Chaem.