|2||Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Phanom|
|3||Sakon Nakhon, Sakon Nakhon|
|5||Phra Samut Chedi, Samut Prakan|
|6||Wang Thonglang, Bangkok|
|7||Phra Khanong, Bangkok|
|8||Si Maha Phot, Prachin Buri|
|9||Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Ratchasima|
|10||Wapi Pathum, Maha Sarakham|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 54 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 13.5 µg/m³|
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Friday, May 7|
Good 38 US AQI
|Saturday, May 8|
Good 48 US AQI
|Sunday, May 9|
Moderate 58 US AQI
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Tuesday, May 11|
Moderate 70 US AQI
|Wednesday, May 12|
Moderate 73 US AQI
|Thursday, May 13|
Moderate 67 US AQI
|Friday, May 14|
Moderate 56 US AQI
|Saturday, May 15|
Moderate 55 US AQI
|Sunday, May 16|
Moderate 55 US AQI
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With a 2019 average of AQI US 26.2, Pathum Thani falls into the “moderate” zone for air quality, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Only for the month of August did Pathum Thani record a figure (9 µg/m³) which falls within the WHO guidelines. July was classed as “good” with a PM2.5 figure of 11.6 µg/m³. For the months of November and December, the figure was recorded as “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with figures of 38.6 and 50.9 respectively.
In the rainy season, PM2.5 and PM>2.5 mass concentrations measured at the Pathum Thani site (15 ± 5 µg/m3 and 37 ± 16 µg/m3 ) were almost the same as those measured in central Bangkok (15 ± 6 µg/m3 and 38 ± 16 µg/m3). These figures changed drastically in the dry season when the Pathum Thani site recorded figures of (32 ± 11 and 44 ± 18 µg/m3) that were slightly higher than Bangkok which recorded (28 ± 10 and 41 ± 15 µg/m3) which may be the effects of rice straw combustion around the site.
Pathum Thani is situated 40 kilometres north of Bangkok and is the capital city of the province of the same name. There are several ways to travel between the two cities, as indeed, many people do by way of their daily commute. It takes approximately 30 minutes by car or taxi, assuming there are no delays due to accidents etc. It is also possible to travel by bus or by train. The fastest route which takes just 1 hour utilises a ferry followed by a taxi journey.
With all this traffic using the roads between the two cities, it comes as no surprise that the air becomes polluted from the exhausts of the vehicles.
Perhaps the worst type of air pollution is the microscopic PM2.5 particulates. It can originate from both organic and inorganic sources. These can include exhaust emissions from internal combustion engines, soil and industrial processes. A main contributor within the urban environment is the construction industry, both with dust caused by the demolition of the existing building to the cement and brick dust from the new build. Shielding to prevent the spread of dust is rarely utilised, but is recommended, and water could be sprayed to dampen the area but again, seldom happens.
PM10 particles behave in a similar way to PM2.5 but their size is the only real difference.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is produced mainly by combustion engines and unvented indoor heaters as well as gas stoves.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced from vehicle engines, emissions from coal-fired power stations, heating appliances and biomass burning.
Don Mueang international airport is not far from Pathum Thani which adds a considerable amount of pollutants to the environment.
The regular burning of stubble and other organic matter exacerbates the situation. This is done after the rice harvest as a way of preparing the ground for the next crop. The areas of Pathum Thani, Nakhonpathon and Chacengsao were noted as being particularly guilty of badly polluting the air. Industrial emissions were very high in the provinces of Samut Sakorn and Samut Prakarn and high emissions were recorded in central Bangkok due to the large population density. High levels were also recorded at busy road junctions and along the congested highway during the rush-hour period. Cars with idling engines are responsible for the noticeably higher concentrations on carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
As with any other major city throughout the world, the reduction in the volume of traffic which burns fossil fuel is the only way to reduce air pollution in the environment. The emission reductions will be focused on the sources which greatly contribute to the level of PM2.5, such as vehicular movement and biomass combustion. Vehicle exhaust gases can be reduced by the implementation of strict emission standards that are rigorously enforced. The adulteration of fuel by cheaper hydrocarbon needs to be prohibited and an age limit on vehicles introduced as older vehicles are not as technologically advanced as their newer models and therefore do not use fuel efficiently.
Stubble-burning which can take place three times each year needs to be controlled by the introduction of alternative measures. Farmers also need to be encouraged to follow these new guidelines or face the consequences of strict regulations.
Emissions from the large industrial zones need monitoring as a way of pinpointing the worst producers of PM2.5 and PM10. The air quality management system needs more ground stations in both the urban and suburban districts to continuously update the information and use modelling tools to ascertain the benefits of air improvement and also help global warming by reducing harmful greenhouse gases.
Local authorities can operate buses which are powered by clean energy such as electricity.
Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, many workers are encouraged to work from home which is an excellent way to reduce the number of private vehicles on the road. This could be continued even after the COVID-19 situation is solved.
The use of electric vehicles (EVs) needs to be encouraged and the local authorities need to be proactive about the situation and start providing charging points at convenient locations throughout the city. Only then will uses have the confidence to safely drive one without the fear of losing power.
The microscopic PM2.5 particulate matter has perhaps the most detrimental effect on human health. Because of their size, they are inhaled deep into the lungs where they travel as far as the alveoli which are the tiny air sacs found at the base of the bronchial tubes. From here they can pass through tissue and eventually reach the heart. Respiratory illness can be provoked by these contaminants and trigger illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
The side effects of breathing in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) include lung irritation and the lowering of the body’s resistance to colds and flu. Short term exposure causes only mild irritation, but it is the long term exposure that causes real problems.
High levels of carbon monoxide are very dangerous because the uptake of oxygen in the blood is reduced considerably. This causes an obvious lack of oxygen to the heart. Shorter-term effects such as dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, confusion and headaches can be experienced. Special care must be taken if pregnant as a high level of carbon monoxide has been proved to be a cause of brain damage in unborn babies.
Urban air pollution is a problem in most Asian cities due to their rapid industrialisation, motorisation and urbanisation. Particulate matter of PM2.5 and PM10 ore of noticeable concern. Bangkok is a prime example of a developing city that now has problems with the level of air pollution it suffers from, with PM10 levels consistently higher than most North American cities. Since 2010, the Thailand Pollution Control Department (PCD) has been regularly monitoring the levels on PM2.5 and a standard has been set. As a result, it can be concluded that a rise of 10 µg/m3 to the PM10 levels would lead to a 1-2 per cent increase in natural mortality, a 1-2 per cent increase in mortality attributed to cardiovascular disease and a 3-6 per cent increase in mortality linked to respiratory diseases. Additionally, Bangkok is facing problems with the increased amount of acid rain it is experiencing due to the large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2) being produced.
Mitigation measures are currently being explored as a matter of great urgency. However, before such measures can be introduced, the local authorities need to study the composition of samples over a period of time. At the same time, levels of acidic gases and liquids need to be taken into account in order to explain the formation and removal processes oh the PM particulate matter.
The main objectives are to obtain samples of PM2.5 and PM10 from selected sites across the city and analyse their composition. The seasonal variation needs to be considered, too. The acidic content of rainwater and ambient levels of acidic gases are also recorded.
Two sampling sites have since been established; one is on the roof of the Pollution Control Department in Bangkok, whilst the other is in the suburban city of Pathum Thani.
Great care has been taken when selecting these sites. The Pathum Thani site is six metres above ground level and surrounded by many canals, rice paddies and other crop-growing areas, together with some related agricultural industries of a small to medium size. Navanakhon Industrial Estate is 8 kilometres to the north of this station and is a mixed industrial zone. There is another similar site some six kilometres to the south. The equipment itself is 500 metres away from the main road and it was noted that the station is upwind of Bangkok during the dry season. The lack of rain which acts as an air cleaner is responsible for the noticeably higher figures during the dry season.