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| 100 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Nakhon Pathom is currently 7.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Sunday, Feb 25
Moderate 75 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 110 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 136 AQI US
Moderate 100 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Moderate 75 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Moderate 82 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 80 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Moderate 72 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Moderate 71 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Moderate 73 AQI US
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Nakhon Pathom is a city located in Thailand, approximately 57km west of the capital city of Bangkok. As with many cities located near the capital, with a large number of them being part of the greater Bangkok metropolitan district, it would suffer from the same pollutive issues that its neighboring capital does. Although not massively over populated, with some 120 thousand or more people living there, it does evidently have some inflated levels of pollution.
In the latter part of 2020, Nakhon Pathom came in with PM2.5 as high as 106.6 μg/m³, recorded mid-December. This is an extremely hazardous number, and although the PM2.5 readings differ largely day by day, with readings such as this even existing, it indicates that there are problems with pollution occurring here, in a similar fashion to that of Bangkok.
Some days, due to meteorological conditions or the mass movement of people and traffic, can see disastrous rises in its pollution levels, and other days significantly lower (due to factors such as wind speed, rain and the activity of its citizens). Other numbers recorded in the same time of the year showed PM2.5 readings as low as 19 μg/m³, putting those particular days into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³.
Whilst there was a week shown in mid-December that had a dangerous rise in pollution levels, which as the previously mentioned number of 106.6 μg/m³ shown would put it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket (55.5 to 105.4 μg/m³), the majority of the days came in on the lower end of the moderate bracket, with readings between 19 μg/m³ to 30 μg/m³ being more prominent throughout the month of November.
Of note is that many cities in Thailand suffer from their worst levels of pollution at the end of the year as well as the very beginning, and as such Nakhon Pathom can be said to have some of its own definite pollution issues, although not as disastrous as far more polluted cities such as Pai, which came in with a yearly average of 38.9 μg/m³ over 2019.
This is to neither downplay the effects of pollution, as any readings above the World Health organization’s target of 0 to 10 μg/m³ of PM2.5 can have a whole host of adverse effects, as is clearly shown in the readings taken in Nakhon Pathom.
Pollution in Nakhon Pathom finds itself coming from several main sources similar to the rest of Thailand, in particular with more importance being placed on vehicular emissions, regarding cities that are near to the capital. Similar to every country round the world, cities that find themselves near economic hubs often have their citizens commuting on a daily basis from surrounding cities into the more densely populated areas that have higher opportunities for work and employment.
With this mass movement comes a vast amount of vehicular pollution that can gather in the atmosphere, compounded by factors such as urban topography, with hundreds of high-rise buildings causing a lack of wind and a subsequent build up of pollution.
Besides the high amounts of haze and smog being emitted from vehicles, large numbers of factories dot the surrounding city limits of Nakhon Pathom, which would all put out their own vast quantities of pollution due to running on fossil fuels such as coal.
These would be more ‘ambient’ sources of pollution, that contribute to the year-round higher readings, but cities such as Nakhon Pathom and many others would see noticeable spikes in pollution in the earlier months of the year due to farmers burning their crops in preparation for the next harvest. Of note is that whilst this may have a slight effect on cities in the mid region of Thailand such as Bangkok or Nakhon Pathom, it is far more prominent and deadly in the northernmost cities such as Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai.
With a large amount of its pollution coming from vehicular emissions, particularly those that run on older outdated motors that still rely on diesel, there would be the normal exhaust fume pollutants, but with the addition of not only higher quantities, but novel compounds that are not seen in vehicle emissions from cleaner fuels available.
These would include gases and fine particulate matter such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), with nitrogen dioxide being of particular concern due to its high release from both vehicles as well as any fossil fuel combustion. Fine particulate matter such as black carbon would find itself in the air as well as coating areas of high traffic, in the form of noxious soot that has highly carcinogenic effects as well as having a prominent effect on climate. Others would include fine silica dust particles , ozone (O3), carbon monoxide as well as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as benzene.
As has already occurred in early 2019, a ban on crop burning was implemented, although as it still stands many people are continuing this practice, due to lack of enforcement as well as difficult in cracking down on it entirely for a number of reasons, such as burnings taking place outside of city limits as well as under the cover of darkness.
The main way in which Nakhon Pathom could reduce its pollution levels permanently would be to get all offending vehicles (such as the ancient pollution spewing trucks and buses) off of the road and to switch over from diesel to cleaner alternatives. Lastly would be the fining and punishment of factories or private businesses that cause the surrounding air to exceed dangerous levels of pollution, as is commonplace with many factories that go unregulated in what they put out into the air.
With readings as high as 106.6 μg/m³ being taken, there are days that would have a whole host of disastrous effects on human health, with even days of lower readings of the aforementioned 19 to 30 μg/m³ of PM2.5 still having side effects.
Some issues would include raised instances of lung cancer, reduction in lung function and scarring of pulmonary tissues. Increased rates of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and an over reduction of lung function. In more severe cases, instances of heart diseases and damage to organs such as the liver and kidneys would become apparent. During the worse months of the year, preventative measures such as the wearing particle filtering masks or avoiding outdoor activity would go a long way in helping to reduce negative side effects of breathing polluted air.