|2||Uthai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya|
|3||Warin Chamrap, Changwat Ubon Ratchathani|
|4||Hang Chat, Lampang|
|5||Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Phanom|
|6||Ban Sang, Prachin Buri|
|7||Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai|
|9||Ubon Ratchathani, Changwat Ubon Ratchathani|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy|| 160 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Ubon Ratchathani is currently 14.7 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Sunday, Feb 5|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 117 US AQI
|Monday, Feb 6|
Unhealthy 152 US AQI
|Tuesday, Feb 7|
Unhealthy 152 US AQI
Unhealthy 160 US AQI
|Thursday, Feb 9|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 113 US AQI
|Friday, Feb 10|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 113 US AQI
|Saturday, Feb 11|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 106 US AQI
|Sunday, Feb 12|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 105 US AQI
|Monday, Feb 13|
Moderate 91 US AQI
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Ubon Ratchathani is a city in Thailand, being one of the four major cities of Isan, a large region in Thailand that is home to other cities such as Khorat and Nakhon Ratchasima. The cities name translates to ‘royal lotus flower’, a leftover from its rich cultural history. In regards to its levels of pollution, Ubon Ratchathani came in with PM2.5 readings in the latter part of 2020 that range from 31 μg/m³, as recorded in early December, down to 8.4 μg/m³ in late November.
Whilst highs of PM2.5 readings such as 31 μg/m³ are by no means a good level of air quality, it should be noted that it is usually around this time of year (towards the end) when many cities in Thailand start to see highly elevated levels of PM2.5 in the air. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter, or in some cases less. Due to this extremely small size, it has a host of dangerous effects on anyone who respires these fine particles, and as such is a major component used to calculate overall levels of pollution.
Ubon Ratchathani is coming in with a mixed range of pollution readings, with the highest one mentioned (31 μg/m³) putting it in the higher end of the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, which requires a reading between 12.1 to 35.4 to be classed as such.
With its lower reading of 8.4 μg/m³ taken in November, this also puts Ubon Ratchathani into the World Health Organizations (WHO) target goal for clean of 10 μg/m³ or less. Generally, the readings taken towards the end of the year are tending towards moderately grouped readings, with some dispersal of days with higher air quality. Considering that Thailand generally suffers from extremely heightened pollution at this time of the year, it is safe to say that Ubon Ratchathani’s air quality is faring well when compared to a large portion of cities in the country.
Due to Ubon Ratchathani's geographical location, it is lucky enough to be situated in a portion of Thailand that is not subject to large amounts of trans-border smoke as much as the southern regions are unfortunately exposed to. Huge forest fires and farmland being set ablaze in Indonesia, most prominently in Sumatra, makes its way over to southern Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and cause some disastrous readings of pollution for these areas and countries.
Ubon Ratchathani however finds a lot of its pollution being localized. For the residents, there is more concern about levels of contamination in drinking water (with chemicals such as arsenic and heavy metals being found in soil and water samples). Regardless, the populations use of vehicles such as motorbikes, cars and lorries would all contribute to the year-round pollution levels, releasing an array of pollutants that will be discussed in short. There are a number of factories and industries that find themselves in the cities limits as well, many of which would rely on fossil fuels such as coal to power their machinery and production lines, as well releasing fumes related to the materials that they are producing (the production of any synthetic materials such as plastic or industrial goods often leads to pollution and fine particulate matter such as lead and mercury finding their way into the air).
Lastly there would be the countrywide issue of open burn fires taking places. Whilst not as prominent as the southern regions that suffer from Indonesia's smoke, locally made fires can still wreak havoc on a cities pollution levels and cause them to rise to dangerous numbers whilst the fires are occurring.
With pollution coming from sources such as cars and motorbikes, still often running on diesel fuels despite the well documented pollutive effects that this unclean fuel has, subsequently large amounts of chemical compounds such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would find themselves in the air. Nitrogen dioxide would be particularly prominent, not just in Ubon Ratchathani but in any area that sees higher volumes of traffic, because of how much of it stems purely from vehicle use.
With a fair number of factories finding themselves within the city’s limits, as well as an airport being in close proximity to many of its citizens, fine particulate matter such as black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and other finely ground particles such as micro plastics or silica dust can find its way into the atmosphere. Of note is that aforementioned black carbon and VOC’s can also be produced by vehicles that run on diesel fuel, highlighting how important it is to eventually try and phase this fuel out of use entirely in personal vehicles, and one day in the future from factory production lines.
With compounds and fine materials such as nitrogen dioxide, black carbon and soot as well as other chemicals arising from factory emissions (formaldehyde, benzenes, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and so on), there would be a varied amount of health problems, especially for those caught breathing the air on days with higher levels of pollution.
Symptoms would include respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma attacks in people already suffering from it, as well as any other lung related issues that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket. With fine particulate matter such as PM2.5 being so microscopic, it can cross over into the blood barrier via the lung tissue and cause damage to the heart, liver, kidney and even the reproductive system.
Over exposure to the open burning of wood and other materials can cause damage to the nervous system to occur, along with reduced lung function, issues of chronic fatigue and headaches as well as irritation to the eyes, mouth, nose and ears.
In order to see marked improvements in its air quality levels, particularly towards the end of the year, initiatives such as the clamping down on open burn fires can be implemented. Stopping these alone would put a large dent into the spikes of pollution that occur, not just locally but countrywide. Others would be the removal or fining of vehicles that fail to pass pollution emission tests, as well as imposing fines and stricter regulations on factories or other industrial areas that cause the surrounding air to surpass what is considered to be safe levels of pollution.