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|Mae Mo, Lampang
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups
| 116 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Mae Mo is currently 8.3 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 146 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Unhealthy 152 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 143 AQI US
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 116 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 94 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 92 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Moderate 77 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Moderate 73 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Moderate 79 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Moderate 82 AQI US
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Mae Mo has had some high levels of air pollution present throughout the past few years, with readings that placed it high amongst the worlds most polluted cities. In late June of 2021, Mae Mo was seen with a US AQI reading of 70, placing it in the 'moderate' ratings bracket for air pollution.
This is color coded as yellow, and requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 51 to 100 to be classified as such. At such a level of air quality, the general public as a whole may remain mostly unaffected, however vulnerable individuals may start to exhibit signs of respiratory distress, though not of the extreme variety.
Those who are considered as being part of the vulnerable demographic within Mae Mo include the elderly, young children and babies, as well as those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions, although the two are often interchangeable. At the time which the above reading of 70 US AQI was taken, a PM2.5 concentration that was two times above the world health organization's (WHO's) exposure recommendation was also recorded.
This indicates that some adverse health effects could occur, due to the highly damaging nature of fine particles. Their extremely small size of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter allows them to penetrate deep into the tissue of the lungs upon inhalation. From there, they can make their way into the bloodstream via the alveoli in the lungs, causing a whole host of health issues. When PM2.5 alerts are on record as being above the exposure recommendation, preventative measures should be taken in order to reduce the amount of fine particles that are inhaled.
The US AQI number shown for Mae Mo is a figure aggregated from the various main pollutants found in the air, which includes ones such as the two forms of particulate matter, PM2.5 and PM10. Other pollutants include ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), all of which are either released from primary sources such as cars, fires and factory boilers or furnaces, or formed in the atmosphere as a secondary pollutant.
Whilst the air quality level in Mae Mo was not particularly high over the months of May and June, prior yearly readings showed some rather extreme elevations in the PM2.5 count during the early period of the year. These higher readings will be discussed in following questions, however, the yearly PM2.5 average taken over 2020 came in at 25.6 μg/m³.
This placed Mae Mo in 538th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, and in 38th place out of all cities ranked in Thailand over the same year. For reference, Mae Mo came in way ahead of Bangkok, which itself came in at 68th place, showing the although there are periods of time in which Mae Mo sees better air quality, it can also be subject to some damaging levels of air pollution.
Air pollution arises from a variety of sources, with some being more prominent than others. One of the more contentious forms of air pollution remains that of slash and burn farming practices, or the open burning of large amounts of organic matter. This can cause large clouds of smoke and fine particles to coalesce in the atmosphere, damaging the lungs of people that come into contact or breathe the polluted air.
Whilst this is more prominent in the northern regions of Thailand, Lampang still has its own fair share of burning issues, and without the necessary enforcement of this highly illegal practice in place to prevent in from happening, it continues on through certain times of the year, causing the large elevations in PM2.5 seen on record.
Other sources of air pollution include ones such as emissions from vehicles, with cars, motorbikes and heavier freight vehicles such as trucks and lorries all adding to the overall ambient pollution levels. Whilst Thailand has taken steps towards reducing the amount of poor quality vehicles on the road, particularly in cities such as Bangkok, their use still remains prevalent.
Aged or damaged vehicles that are not removed from use on the road can leak far more noxious oil vapors and fine particles than a cleaner motor would. Construction sites, power plants and factories also remain ever present sources of air pollution in Mae Mo.
From the recordings of PM2.5 taken over the course of 2020, it can be seen that Mae Mo had its highest readings in the months of January through to April, with readings of 73.7 μg/m³, 50.4 μg/m³, 57.8 μg/m³ and 47.8 μg/m³ respectively.
This placed January and March in the 'unhealthy' ratings bracket, and February and April in the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' ratings bracket, making the first four months of the year the most polluted, and January the most dangerous with its PM2.5 reading of 73.7 μg/m³.
Despite the extremely high readings seen at the beginning of the year, Mae Mo also had a period of time in which the air quality was much more improved.
June through to October of 2020 all came in with readings that fell inside the world health organization's (WHO's) target goal for the best quality of air at 10 μg/m³ or less. Out of all of these months, which already had a very good quality of air, August was the cleanest with its reading of 7.1 μg/m³.
Other pollutants that would be found in the atmosphere in Mae Mo would be ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), along with the other pollutants that go into the US AQI calculation. Nitrogen dioxide finds a large amount of release from vehicles, and as such would be found in higher volumes over areas that see a high volume of traffic.
Both black carbon, or soot, along with VOCs are released in large amounts from the combustion of both fossil fuels as well as organic matter, and would thus be found emanating from both industrial and vehicular activity, alongside open burn sites.