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PM2.5 concentration in Samut Sakhon is currently 2.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Feb 18
Moderate 67 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 19
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 20
Moderate 57 AQI US
Good 45 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 22
Good 50 AQI US
|Friday, Feb 23
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Saturday, Feb 24
Moderate 56 AQI US
|Sunday, Feb 25
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Moderate 70 AQI US
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Samut Sakhon is a city in Thailand located some 48km away from the capital city of Bangkok. It is considered as part of the Bangkok metropolitan region, and as such, would share many of its pollutive issues, due to close proximity.
Observing data taken from the last few years, it can be seen that Samut Sakhon came in with a PM2.5 reading of 24.1 μg/m³ as an average taken over the year of 2019. This places it into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, a rating that requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classed as such. This reading placed it in 38th place out of all cities ranked in Thailand over the same year, of note is that Bangkok, somewhat known for its pollution levels, came in behind it in 48th place, with a PM2.5 reading of 22.8 μg/m³, meaning that Samut Sakhon was subject to slightly worse pollution levels than the capital.
Its reading of 24.1 μg/m³ over the year of 2019 also ranked it as the 664th most polluted city worldwide. As a yearly average, Samut Sakhon’s number is not a great danger to its citizens, although there are many months that saw huge spikes in pollution levels, and as such there would be many times of the year that the air quality would be unsafe to breathe for a majority of its population.
Much like its neighbor Bangkok, Samut Sakhon has a large number of vehicles that populate the roads, with a variety of cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses all travelling in and out of the city, many of which still run on diesel fuels. Fossil fuels such as diesel can put out higher levels of pollution than their cleaner counterparts, with noxious gases as well as dangerous particulate matter all being put out into the atmosphere.
Boats are also responsible for putting out their own share of pollution, adding to the year-round ambient levels, as many waterways can be found dotted around the city’s limits, similar in many ways to the neighboring capital.
Boats often have different fuel regulations and as such have higher levels of pollutants such as sulfur in them, which can get released into the atmosphere in the form of sulfur dioxide (SO2), where it can contribute heavily to acid rain.
Other sources include smoke and pollution emitted from factories and other industrial areas such as construction sites, however the main offending source in Samut Sakhon appears to be vehicular emissions, with certain areas subject to large buildups of traffic and subsequently high levels of pollution in the air surrounding the traffic jams.
With vehicle exhaust being the main offender in the cities pollution buildup, noxious gases as well as fine particulate matters such as carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and volatile organic compounds would all be found, with the aforementioned diesel fuels all putting these out in larger quantities.
Black carbon would also be found, as can often be seen coating areas of high traffic in the form of soot. Black carbon is a highly dangerous particulate matter with a number of health effects when inhaled, as well as having a disastrous heating effect on any city that sees large numbers of it in the air, due to its ability to trap solar radiation and convert it directly into heat.
Areas of industry such as factory zones can all put out their own unique pollutants, particularly ones that use plastics in any part of their process, be it recycling or the creation of plastic containers or packaging. In its molten form, besides creating hazardous microplastics that can permeate the air and make their way into the food chain, the fumes given off can include chemical compound such as dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls, as well as dangerous metals such as mercury.
These would amount to a few of the main pollutants in the air of Samut Sakhon, with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) also getting an honorable mention due to its high levels of emission from vehicular exhaust.
Observing the data taken over 2019, there were some months with huge spikes in pollution levels recorded. The one month that stands out above all others was January, with a massive reading of 102.9 μg/m³, putting it into the higher end of the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classed as such.
Pollution during this month would have highly detrimental effects on anyone breathing it, with the young, elderly, immunocompromised and pregnant mothers being the most at risk. When months such as this hit dangerous levels of pollution, preventative measures such as wearing of particle filtering masks and avoiding outdoor activities become of extreme importance.
Of note is that Samut Sakhon saw months that gave it large amounts of respite, with June through to August all coming in with very respectable readings. Both June and August fell within the WHO’s target rating of 0 to 10 μg/m³ of particulate matter in the air, making it very clean to breath and a truly large contrast to the month of January. July also presented with ‘good’ quality air, with readings of 10.4 μg/m³, slightly above the WHO target were recorded.
Looking back at years past, the numbers of PM2.5 in the air are available for comparison. Going by these readings, it appears that Samut Sakhon is indeed improving in its air quality, although there will still be a long way to go to avoid the disastrous numbers as recorded in January 2019 as well as getting its yearly average down to the WHO target.
2017 presented with a reading of 26.9 μg/m³, followed by a yearly average of 39.8 μg/m³ in 2018, showing a fairly drastic jump. In more recent times, 2019 had the aforementioned 24.1 μg/m³, showing that between the years of 2018 and 2019, an improvement of 15.7 μg/m³ units of PM2.5 occured. If this trend continues then there will be greater hope for the citizens of Samut Sakhon to experience considerably cleaner air year-round.