|1||Mae Sot, Tak|
|2||Hang Dong, Chiang Mai|
|3||Si Chiang Mai, Nong Khai|
|4||Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet|
|7||Mae Mo, Lampang|
|9||Wichian Buri, Phetchabun|
|10||Phu Phiang, Nan|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good||24 US AQI||co|
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Friday, Nov 27|
Moderate 52 US AQI
|Saturday, Nov 28|
Good 40 US AQI
|Sunday, Nov 29|
Good 36 US AQI
Good 28 US AQI
|Tuesday, Dec 1|
Good 47 US AQI
|Wednesday, Dec 2|
Good 35 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 3|
Good 44 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 4|
Moderate 80 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 6|
Moderate 98 US AQI
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Surat Thani is a small city in the southern region of Thailand with an area of just under 69 square kilometers, situated approximately 651km away from the capital city of Bangkok. It is not well known for its tourism, offering no major attractions and is often used as a hub for tourists to move onto other destinations such as Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. It has a strong US AQI ranking, coming in consistently with good ratings. In regards to the level of PM2.5 in the air, it falls between both good and moderate classification, with good ratings requiring a very low number between 10 to 12µg/m³ to be labelled as such.
In 2019 the yearly average reading of PM2.5 in the air (particulate matter of 2.5 or less micrometers across) was recorded at 16.6 µg/m³, putting it at the lower end of a ‘moderate’ air quality rating. This means that the level of smoke and pollution in Surat Thani would be fairly low, as this reading is only 6.6µg/m³ away from finding its way into the ‘good’ rating bracket. Its coastal location and geographical terrain would offer it a good natural defense against the build of smoke and other pollution, as well as a distinct lack of tourists. However, whilst tourism may fail to find root in the city itself, it is important to note that as a travel hub to the islands nearby, this will indicate a higher level of human traffic coming in and out of the city as people travel to and from their destination, thus pushing levels of pollution up, higher than they may be without this mass movement. However due to COVID-19 in 2020 this would have drastically reduced the amount of people moving through Surat Thani.
As mentioned before, the main causes of pollution in this city would be the emissions from cars and buses, as well as the fumes put out from the boats used, due to it being a coastal city. The boats would have a major role in ferrying tourists to and from the nearby islands, as well as being used by locals for their own livelihoods such as fishing and general travel through the numerous waterways, canals and floating markets that the city contains, somewhat similar to Bangkok in those regards.
These boats often run on inferior quality engines and use diesel as a main fuel source, outputting a large amount of PM2.5 and PM10 into the atmosphere, these fine particulate matter composed of toxic chemicals such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), as well as black carbon (BC), a form of carbon that is mostly produced by inefficient or incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, likely those found emitting from the engines of the boats. Black carbon is the main component of soot, and can be easily transferred into the atmosphere due to its small size, raising the overall US AQI and PM2.5 rating.
Alongside the boats and other vehicular emissions, Surat Thani would no doubt be afflicted by the haze that plagues the rest of Thailand caused by the burning of organic materials in forest areas and farmland, a problem that afflicts many South East Asian countries due to the continued use of ‘slash and burn’ farming techniques, despite them being highly illegal. However as previously mentioned, the seaside location may provide a relief from a build up of smog and haze that other cities suffer from, with strong coastal winds offering a much-needed respite that landlocked cities do not get the benefit of, hence why it came in at a 2019 PM2.5 ranking of 64th place, out of 68 recorded cities.
Whilst Surat Thani does not present any immediate risk to its citizens or any tourists travelling through, measures have been taken by governing bodies to further reduce its levels of PM2.5. in 2019 the province of Surat Thani produced some 250,000 masks to help protect its citizens from any fine particulate matter in the air. in addition to this, authorities have asked for the cooperation of its people to reduce the amount of fires caused, particularly regarding the incineration of wood chips, leaves and other dead organic matter that people may have traditionally disposed of by burning. Along with almost every other city in Thailand, the eventual crackdown and removal of high-risk pollution causing vehicles, particularly older trucks and buses, would go a long way to reducing the levels of PM2.5 in the air and improving its US AQI rating.
Living in a city such as Surat Thani, that has a lower PM2.5 rating, would have significantly less effects on ones health, however due to it still falling into the ‘moderate’ rating bracket, there could be days that may be detrimental to certain people, particularly those who have preexisting conditions or are sensitive to certain chemicals that find themselves in the particulate matter that permeates the atmosphere. Young children, when exposed to year-round breathing of elevated levels of PM2.5 may find themselves at risk for developing future conditions, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema as well as an overall reduction in full lung function, as well as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems also being susceptible.
Besides an increase in lung related conditions and respiratory infections, the ability of PM2.5 to enter the bloodstream can also cause cardiovascular issues such as an increase in the risk of heart diseases, as well as various forms of cancers. However as mentioned before, these issues would be at a significantly lower rate due to the regions low PM2.5 rating, especially when compared to other places in Thailand with more disastrous ratings, with highly polluted cities such as Saraphi coming in at an average PM2.5 rating of 41.3 µg/m³ during 2019, putting it at 2nd place out of all ranked cities in Thailand and a particulate matter reading nearly two and a half times that of Surat Thani’s 16.6 µg/m³. The aforementioned health risks would be far more prominent in cities such as Saraphi, and if you were to find yourself travelling through such a city, the purchase of higher quality masks, as available on site, would be highly recommended to keep you safe from the negative effects of breathing such poor-quality air. To reiterate, such effects would find themselves far less prominent in Surat Thani with its lowered levels of pollution.
Phuket comes in as the least polluted and cleanest city in terms of air quality, with a 2019 average PM2.5 reading of 11.4µg/m³, putting it as the only city in Thailand to come in with a yearly average rating that falls into the ‘good’ grouping, which requires a reading between 10 to 12 µg/m³ to achieve. As such, Phuket came in at 68th place, the lowest ranked city out of all 68 registered.
When compared to Surat Thani, you can observe that they are not particularly far apart in their readings, with Surat Thani’s 2019 average coming in at 16.6µg/m³, only 5.2 µg/m³ greater than that of Phuket. However, they are very similar cities, both having a coastal location and being in the Southern region of Thailand. As such, it could stand to say that with improvements in pollution reducing measures being implemented, Surat Thani could achieve a rating closer to that of Phuket’s, although that may be hard to achieve due to being slightly more land locked if observed on a map. Overall, they come in very close alongside each other, both achieving respectable ratings of air quality.