|1||Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai|
|2||Bang Lamung, Chon Buri|
|3||Pattaya, Chon Buri|
|4||Chon Buri, Chon Buri|
|5||Tha Yang, Phetchaburi|
|6||Si Chiang Mai, Nong Khai|
|7||Thawi Watthana, Bangkok|
|8||Bang Na, Bangkok|
|9||Taling Chan, Bangkok|
|10||Bang Yai, Nonthaburi|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 107 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 38 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 68 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Ban Bueng air is currently 3.8 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Sunday, Oct 17|
Good 27 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 18|
Good 32 US AQI
|Tuesday, Oct 19|
Moderate 67 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 107 US AQI
|Thursday, Oct 21|
Moderate 75 US AQI
|Friday, Oct 22|
Moderate 65 US AQI
|Saturday, Oct 23|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Sunday, Oct 24|
Moderate 59 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 25|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Tuesday, Oct 26|
Moderate 53 US AQI
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Ban Bueng is a small city located in Chonburi province in the eastern portion of Thailand. It finds itself sitting approximately halfway between the capital city of Bangkok and the coastal city of Pattaya. It has a fairly small population of some 20,000 people living there. Pollution levels in Ban Bueng do not come in with particularly bad readings, although these levels are prone to rise and fall fairly rapidly, resembling somewhat of a pattern similar to the rest of Thailand. The country finds itself with some months sitting comfortably within the World Health Organizations target PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 0 to 10 µg/m³, and other months sitting on the other end of the spectrum with readings that put it into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of 35.5 to 55.4 µg/m³.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, and is an important component of air pollution, making up some of the more dangerous types of chemicals and fine particles in the air that can cause a whole host of issues when inhaled over a period of time. Ban Bueng shows readings in late 2020 that put it into the ‘moderate’ bracket, requiring concentrations of 12.1 to 35.4 µg/m³ to be classed as such. A few different readings taken towards the end of November come in between 10.2 µg/m³ (recorded on the 11th of November) all the way up to 35.4 µg/m³, a reading taken only a few days later on the 14th of November.
Whilst 10.2 µg/m³ is a considerably good reading, it appears to be somewhat of an anomaly, with a majority of readings coming in at 20 µg/m³ and above. This is an indicator that Ban Bueng has levels of pollution that could be of concern to its citizens, particularly those who have weakened immune systems, or young children and the elderly. Of note though is that a majority of cities in Thailand often suffer spikes of pollution during the months of November and December, with the cleanest months occurring from June through to August. This makes the fairly elevated levels of pollution in Ban Bueng during November seem less out of the ordinary, although as mentioned still worthy of concern and taking precautionary measures to lower exposure may be necessary.
Once again like with many cities in Thailand, there would be several main causes that contribute to the pollution levels. One of them would be the automobile industry, with a variety of cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks travelling in and out of the city. They would find active use in the tourism industry, ferrying in tourists to Ban Bueng. As well as this, the city would be used as a transit zone for those travelling to and from Bangkok and Pattaya, two major tourist destinations in their own right, both for locals as well as international travelers.
Primary and secondary pollutants would be found in the air as a result of this, with ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) being particularly prominent, due to its high emission from vehicle engines, as well as sulfur dioxide (SO2), which can be found in higher concentrations in diesel fuels, a fuel which is slowly being singled out for its role in adding to pollution levels, although it still finds use in many engines due to lax regulations and lack of enforcement, particularly in certain parts of the world.
Another cause of pollution would be the large number of factories found dotted around many locations within Ban Bueang’s city limits. A number of these factories include ones that manufacture automobile parts, wiring and other industrial accessories, as well as oil, rubber and plastic factories. These would put out large amounts of air pollution, with other contaminants such as microplastics and fine particles of dangerous metals such as lead and mercury finding their way into the atmosphere. Lastly there is the constant issue of the burning of organic materials, usually in areas just outside major cities where enforcement against such action is hard to put into force.
Although the practice is highly illegal, many people still practice forms of slash and burn farming, where large amounts of both living and dead organic materials are burnt. The byproducts of this include primary pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), black carbon, and secondary pollutants such as ozone (O3). Black carbon is a prime component of soot, and has a number of serious health effects when inhaled, along with environmental effects, particularly regarding climate change as well as damage to ecosystems.
So, to summate, the three main causes of pollution in Ban Bueng would be vehicles, factories and the various contaminants they put out, as well as the smoke drifting in from nearby rural areas caused by the illegal burning of plant matter and other refuse.
In order to reduce the overall levels of air pollution, steps have been taken to tackle a lot of the smoke and fumes released from the many factories around the city. Residents have frequently complained in recent years about bad chemical smells emanating from the areas surrounding the factories and have made petitions and staged protests for them to be shut down, or at least change their method of operation.
Smelting factories as well as recycling plants have been targeted due to their improper handling of pollution control. Melted plastic can release a huge number of noxious fumes and chemicals into the air, and efforts by the local people as well as backing by governing bodies can help in reducing air pollution levels in Ban Bueng.
There are numerous health effects of breathing low quality air, particularly when exposed over long periods of time. Breathing the aforementioned particulate matter such as black carbon can cause reduced lung function, as well as an increased risk of chest infections and rates of cancer. Regarding the fumes released from nearby factories, particularly ones that release burnt plastic fumes, the health effects can become quite serious, with symptoms such as elevated risks of heart attacks as well as other forms of heart disease.
Other issues include the triggering of asthma attacks, headaches and damage to the nervous system, as well as issues related to certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys. Preventative measures such as the wearing of particle filtering masks and avoiding outdoor activities during bad spells of pollution would help considerably in reducing these negative health effects.
To compare to the capital city Bangkok, which also happens to be nearby, readings taken later in the year of 2020 indicate that Bangkok is afflicted by heightened levels of pollution when compared to Ban Bueng.
The reasons for this are numerous, with population size and vehicle count being a huge factor, but it still stands to reason that Ban Bueng’s ambient PM2.5 readings are considerably better. For a comparison, Bangkok came in with a reading of 40.1 µg/m³ on the 8th of November, whilst on the same day in Ban Bueng a reading of 32 µg/m³ was taken. These are both fairly high numbers, taken from a day when both cities were most likely suffering from heightened pollution levels that may have spread throughout the region, it appeared that Ban Bueng’s air quality remained at a lower level, thus making its air quality during the month of November 2020 superior to that of Bangkok’s, a trend that follows nearly every day of that particular month