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|2||Samut Sakhon, Samut Sakhon|
|3||Bang Bon, Bangkok|
|4||Thawi Watthana, Bangkok|
|5||Bang Kruai, Nonthaburi|
|6||Pattaya, Chon Buri|
|7||Khon Kaen, Khon Kaen|
|8||Bang Khun Thian, Bangkok|
|9||Mueang Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi|
|10||Bangkok Yai, Bangkok|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 62* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Prachuap Khiri Khan is currently 3.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
Moderate 62 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 1|
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 64 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Good 48 AQI US
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Prachuap Khiri Khan is a Thai city located in the southern region of the country, being a coastal city on a fairly thin strip of land leading onto the Malay peninsula. As such, it has somewhat of a unique topography, as well as being home to many pineapple and coconut plantation areas. It is renowned as a favorite hotspot for Thai people to visit as a local touristic destination, due to its natural beauty and coastal location.
In regards to the air quality however, they are seen to be less than appreciable, with readings taken in the early portion of 2021 coming in particularly elevated. In early February there were PM2.5 readings ranging all the way from 35.2 μg/m³, a reading which is high enough already in its own right, all the way up to 66.2 μg/m³, a very high number that would place Prachuap Khiri Khan into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket for that particular point in time, a grouping that requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ for classification.
As the name of this group implies, when the air quality readings come in at such a number there would be many detrimental effects on the health of those who are subject to breathing it, some of which will be covered in following. PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, sometimes going as low as 0.001 microns across, and due to this extremely small size and the danger it presents, is a major component used in the calculation of the overall AQI, or air quality index.
Whilst it is a city that is not subject to the same amount of anthropogenic activity as other more densely populated cities such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai may be, with only 26.9 thousand inhabitants living there as of a census taken in the year 2000 (a number that will surely have grown due to its age, but not by a significant amount), it still seems to be afflicted by air pollution issues that rival that of the bigger cities, particularly during certain times of the year.
As can be seen across the readings taken across all cities in Thailand, many of them see their worst levels of pollution coming in at the end of the year and continuing on into the early months of the following year. The reason for this, and more prominently for more cities that have less development and thus more areas of vegetation, is the unfortunate incidents of crop burning as well as farmers setting fire to vast areas of forest land or other areas of greenery, a practice known as slash and burn farming. Whilst this is deemed illegal, it seems to continue unabated into modern times due to lack of enforcement. This is one of the main causes for the massive spikes of pollution seen in cities such as Prachuap Khiri Khan, which despite missing data for some of its other months, would certainly have times when the air quality is significantly cleaner and free of smoke and other pollutants, due to its coastal position subjecting it to stronger winds that can aid in the removal of smoke and haze.
Other causes of pollution would be the ever present use of vehicles, as well as construction sites and road repairs, both of which can leak large amounts of fine particles into the air, amongst other toxic contaminants. Industrial areas and factories are also responsible for contributing to the pollution levels as well.
With much of its pollution arising from both vehicular emissions alongside the burning of organic material, the pollutants would be heavily correlated with these sources. To begin with the topic of vehicles, the main pollutants associated with these are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), with the first one being the main offender in vehicle exhaust. It is so prominent in its release from vehicles that it can often be used to calculate exactly how much pollution is being caused by cars alone, with areas that see a high volume of traffic often having a larger concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere above it, as well as on ground levels.
Other pollutants would be ones such as ozone (O3), which finds its creation from the various oxides of nitrogen or sulfur (as released from vehicles) being subject to intense amounts of solar radiation, something that nearly all cities across S.E Asia have in abundance. Whilst it is a vital part of the upper atmosphere, it is a noxious pollutant when found on ground level. Carbon monoxide, finely ground silica dust, as well as black carbon would also be found in the air in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
With some of the pollution readings showing fairly significant numbers in the early portion of the year, there would be a considerable amount of related health issues. Some of these would cause problems such as rapid aging or scarring of the lung tissue, something that can cause not only a reduction in full lung function, but also a reduction in life expectancy, with the chance of throat and lung cancers rising along with the pollution levels, particularly when it comes to pollutants such as black carbon or other carcinogenic materials.
Further respiratory complications include ailments such as emphysema, bronchitis, aggravated forms of asthma as well as pneumonia, all of which fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket.
As touched on previously, the burning of forested areas or crop fields can not only cause massive issues regarding the overall PM2.5 readings as well as a lowering of the air quality rating, but numerous health issues for those respiring such pollution, even going so far as to have an impact on the economy. In some of the more prominent northern cities in Thailand, many expatriates and foreign workers have moved out of many of the previously desirable cities due to the air pollution issues.
With such contaminated air rearing its head in smaller touristic cities such as Prachuap Khiri Khan, it would play its part in driving away many of the local tourists, thus impacting the economy in the long run, as well as its desirability of being a holiday destination. On top of this, it destroys large amounts of forest and Greenland, ruining ecosystems and putting vast amounts of noxious smoke into the air. It is a practice that can hopefully see its gradual elimination from being common practice in Thailand, with proper enforcement being more important than ever now to reduce air pollution levels.