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|1||Mae Sai, Chiang Rai|
|2||Mae Rim, Chiang Mai|
|3||Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai|
|4||Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai|
|5||Phan, Chiang Rai|
|7||Wiang Chai, Chiang Rai|
|8||Pai, Mae Hong Son|
|9||Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
|1||Soi Tetsaban 2|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Very Unhealthy|| 233 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Phan is currently 36.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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| Avoid outdoor exercise|
|Tuesday, Mar 28|
Very Unhealthy 222 US AQI
Very Unhealthy 233 US AQI
|Thursday, Mar 30|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 141 US AQI
|Friday, Mar 31|
Unhealthy 157 US AQI
|Saturday, Apr 1|
Unhealthy 151 US AQI
|Sunday, Apr 2|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 129 US AQI
|Monday, Apr 3|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 124 US AQI
|Tuesday, Apr 4|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 144 US AQI
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Phan sees air pollution levels that can range all the way from extremely good, right up to being dangerous in nature. This is largely due to several main reasons, which will be discussed in the following question.
In May of 2021, Phan presented with a US AQI reading of 29, indicating a ‘good’ level of air quality. This however was not always the case, with days prior coming in with readings going up to highs of 157, which would fall into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, highlighting the sporadic nature of air quality within Phan, and other areas within the North Thailand region.
Some of the main contributing factors to air pollution in Phan would the usual ones found throughout Asia and indeed the rest of the world. These would be emissions from vehicles, with the fumes of the many engines moving about the city as well as in and out on a daily basis all causing the ambient levels of air pollution to rise.
Others would come from the factories and power plants, whose own combustion processes can often lead to heightened levels of air pollution, particularly if stringent measures are not put in place to combat excessive emissions.
The main source of the massive spikes in air pollution seen however come from the farmland and forest area fires that are a consistent problem in Northern Thailand. The smoke from fires in neighboring countries would also find its way over the Phan and other various cities nearby, and with a lack of strong wind during certain times of the year, cause the air pollution levels to skyrocket as the clouds of smoke and haze build up to dangerous levels.
With prior readings of air quality present on record, one can see that over the course of 2020, Phan had some months of the year that were extremely polluted, with such high readings that they skewed the yearly average by a significant amount, causing Phan’s high ranking amongst the worlds most polluted cities in 2020. This occurred even during the covid-19 crisis, which saw massive reductions in travel and tourism, which should by all means have improved the quality of air due to lessened anthropogenic movement.
The most polluted months on record in Phan were January through to April, as well as December also presenting with a heightened reading, although not as severe as the early months. This indicates a pattern whereby air pollution levels start to rise late in the year, and reach their peaks in the early months of the following year, a trend that is seen time after time in northern Thailand due to the devastating effect that slash and burn farming can have.
January through to April had readings of 58.5 μg/m³, 76.6 μg/m³, 156.4 μg/m³ and 88.6 μg/m³. With the exception of March, three of those months fell into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³.
However, March took the top spot for most severely polluted month with its reading of 156.4 μg/m³, placing it within the ‘very unhealthy’ air pollution bracket. This would be a time in which the smoke from forest fires and farmlands would be absolutely permeating the atmosphere, filling the air with both hazardous chemical compounds as well as a variety of ultrafine particles, both of which are equally dangerous to breath.
Observing the air quality levels collected over 2020 once again, it can be seen that the months of June through to October had the best levels of air quality present. After the highly polluted and dangerous levels of PM2.5 started to subside in April through to May, Phan entered into a period of time in which the air was considerably safer to breath, with even two months out of the above mentioned period falling withing the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less, for the best quality of air.
These readings were, from June to October, 10 μg/m³, 9.2 μg/m³, 11.4 μg/m³, 13.6 μg/m³, and 12.4 μg/m³. June and July both fell within the WHO's target goal, with July being the cleanest month of the year at 9.2 μg/m³. August fell into the ‘good’ air quality bracket (10 to 12 μg/m³ required), and the remaining months into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, albeit at the lower end of this scale, hence making the air still somewhat safe to breathe.
Exposure to high levels of air pollution can bring about all manner of unwanted and dangerous ailments, particularly to certain people who fall into the sensitive groups bracket. However, even healthy adults can succumb to the ill effects of air pollution if exposure is excessive, or taken in over a long period of time (particularly for those who live near highly polluted areas such as industrial districts or near busy roads, whereby the air quality will be poor for a most of the year).
Some ailments that may arise as a result would be short term ones such as dry throat and coughs, as well as chest pains and mild infections of the respiratory tract. These can however clear up quite fast when exposure to air pollution is thus ceased, and they can be considered as more short term or acute health issues. However, these can also develop into more long term or chronic ailments, with repeated chest infections and coughing leading the to the scarring of lung tissue and resulting in permanently decreased lung function.
As well as this, the scarring or damage and inflammation to the tissue of the lungs can make one more vulnerable to a whole host of respiratory distress, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) presenting itself. This is an umbrella term which refers to a multitude of different lung and respiratory tract conditions, typically resulting in shortness of breath as well as making an individual at greater risk to severe damage from pollution exposure.
Some major ailments that fall under this COPD bracket are one such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and aggravated forms of asthma. Other damage that can occur to the body includes cases of cancer, heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes and arrythmias, as well as ischemic heart disease and many other cardiac or pulmonary conditions that can bring about a shortening of one’s life.
Data sources 1