|1||Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Phanom|
|2||Wapi Pathum, Maha Sarakham|
|3||Samut Songkhram, Samut Songkhram|
|4||Sakon Nakhon, Sakon Nakhon|
|6||Bueng Kan, Changwat Bueng Kan|
|7||Sattahip, Chon Buri|
|8||Warin Chamrap, Changwat Ubon Ratchathani|
|9||Si Chiang Mai, Nong Khai|
|10||Phra Khanong, Bangkok|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 76 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 23.9 µg/m³|
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Thursday, May 6|
Moderate 72 US AQI
|Friday, May 7|
Moderate 96 US AQI
|Saturday, May 8|
Moderate 83 US AQI
Moderate 69 US AQI
|Monday, May 10|
Moderate 52 US AQI
|Tuesday, May 11|
Moderate 55 US AQI
|Wednesday, May 12|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Thursday, May 13|
Moderate 53 US AQI
|Friday, May 14|
Good 48 US AQI
|Saturday, May 15|
Good 49 US AQI
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Udon Thani is a city in the north eastern region of Thailand, bordering Laos and northern Vietnam as well as acting as a gateway to the southern part of China. Much like the rest of Thailand, Udon Thani is subject to fluctuating levels of pollution, sometimes changing in high amounts month by month, depending on a number of factors that influence the level of pollution in the air. These factors would include, as far as the three main ones go, vehicular emissions largely based in cities, the burning of dead organic material (biomass) both on a local and international level, as well as smoke and pollution released from industrial sectors such as factories. In Udon Thani, based on readings taken over 2019, the levels of fine particulate matter in the air, or PM2.5 readings came in at a yearly average of 23.4 µg/m³, placing it into the ‘moderately’ polluted bracket, as well as putting it in 41st place out of all cities ranked in Thailand, based on their pollution levels. The first few months of the year in 2019 have data missing from them, somewhat skewing the results, but by observing the numbers available for the rest of the year they follow a fairly similar pattern to the rest of the country.
The readings over the various months came in at classifications across 4 separate groupings, in regards to how polluted the air is. April and December came in at the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, a rating that requires a PM2.5 reading of between 35.5 to 55.4 µg/m³ to attain, June and July came in at a ‘good’ rating (anywhere between 10 to 12 µg/m³) and August coming in at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target rating of anywhere between 0 to 10 µg/m³, with the rest of the year coming in at a moderate rating.
With this information available, even with data lacking in years prior to 2019 and the earlier months of that year, it can be seen that the city of Udon Thani is subject to a wide range of pollution levels, and as such at any given month the city could have an excess of smoke and haze permeating the atmosphere, causing problems for vulnerable demographics and giving reasons for preventative measures to be taken, such as the wearing of masks, checking air quality maps to stay up to date (such as the ones available on in IQAir site or the AirVisual app) and taking appropriate action depending on the pollution levels, with staying indoors and opting out of outdoor activities during particularly bad days or months being optimal for the health of those living there.
As mentioned in the previous question, there are three main causes contributing to the pollution levels in Udon Thani, with a variety of different pollutants and chemical compounds being attributed to them. The emissions across all types of vehicles typically contain higher levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), so much so to the point that levels of this chemical compound found in the air can be a fairly accurate indicator of how much of the overall pollution level is actually coming from car and truck emissions, as opposed to other sources. Other components of smoke and haze that will be found in Udon Thani’s air would include Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO) as well as Ozone (O3).
In order for these chemicals to find their way into the atmosphere, there would need to be other activities going on such as the burning of organic matter. This would come from farmers practicing the highly illegal slash and burn practice, something that has come under increased local and international pressure over the last decade due to the disastrous consequences that it has on not only the environment but on human health. Besides the farmers, on an individual level many people are responsible for adding to the smoke and pollution found in the air by getting rid of unwanted materials such as dead leaves and trees, food waste and other types of organic refuse by burning it. Initiatives are being taken by governing bodies to make sure that the general public, particularly people living out in the countryside and provinces, are educated on the subject so that they desist in continuing unnecessary burning practices. So, whilst the large spikes in PM2.5 readings may find their origin in the burning of large swathes or forest area or other similar practices, the more ambient levels of pollution that the city sees year-round would find their root cause in vehicle emission as well as the smoke and fumes given off by factories and other production-based industries.
During the worse months of they year where the AQI readings become less appreciable, there would be an increase in the negative health effects that could fall upon any of the citizens breathing the polluted air, particularly if exposed over prolonged periods of time. As it was recorded in 2019, the air pollution levels reached the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ classification, and as such this would put any people with preexisting respiratory conditions at risk, such as those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term that includes within it a whole variety of illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other lifelong conditions like reduced lung function. People with compromised immune systems and poor health could fall foul to the inhalation of the tiny particulate matter, with the larger PM10 able to get into the airways and cause issues such as irritation to the throat, eyes, nose and skin, as well as triggering off asthma attacks and increasing risk of lung infections.
Going off the data provided over 2019’s PM2.5 readings, Udon Thani suffered from its worst air quality in the months of April and December, with readings of 44.9 µg/m³ and 40.5 µg/m³ respectively. Whilst these two were close together in terms of poor air quality, the numbers show April to be the worst, with the previously mentioned sensitive demographics being at risk of breathing the air during this time of the year.
Like much of Thailand, Udon Thani and its government have taken steps to ensure that the city does not experience the extreme spikes in pollution that are witnessed over many cities countrywide. These include the previously mentioned educating of people in regards to conducting themselves with environmentally friendly manners, such as not burning their waste or clearing organic matter such as weeds or dead leaves in the same fashion. Monitoring construction sites and the amount of dust and other fine particle matters that they give off such as micro plastics and tiny metal particles (particularly lead because of its toxic properties) is also a step in the right direction, as this dust and finely ground dirt inevitably makes its way onto roads where it mixes with the other noxious chemicals emitted by exhaust fumes and is then sent billowing up into the sky, causing particulate matter readings to soar and the quality of air to become poorer. With these steps put into place and consistently enforced, it would go a long way in reducing pollution levels in Udon Thani.