|1||Nong Khai, Nong Khai|
|2||Nam Phong, Khon Kaen|
|3||Udon Thani, Changwat Udon Thani|
|4||Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya|
|5||Thai Mueang, Phangnga|
|6||Chaloem Phra Kiat, Sara Buri|
|7||Wapi Pathum, Maha Sarakham|
|8||Roi Et, Roi Et|
|9||Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Phanom|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 110 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 39 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 25 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Ayutthaya air is currently 7.8 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Thursday, Jan 20|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 109 US AQI
|Friday, Jan 21|
Moderate 71 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 22|
Moderate 65 US AQI
|Sunday, Jan 23|
Moderate 73 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 110 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 25|
Unhealthy 154 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 26|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 149 US AQI
|Thursday, Jan 27|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 119 US AQI
|Friday, Jan 28|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 131 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 29|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 115 US AQI
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Ayutthaya is a city in Thailand located just north of the capital city of Bangkok. It has an ancient history going back many centuries as a cultural hub for the whole of the region of southeast Asia, as well as being the old capital of Thailand. Nowadays Ayutthaya is still home to many of its ancient monuments from times past, but with new ventures such as high volumes of tourists and industrials sites around the city’s limits, all of which contribute to the levels of air pollution. There are other causes of pollution, such as the open burning of forested area, farmland and piles of organic refuse, which despite being highly illegal, still continue to happen in numerous locations countrywide, including around the city of Ayutthaya.
Pollution levels in Ayutthaya are coming in fairly high, even in the latter part of 2020 despite large portions of the population (and world) still being limited in their movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The levels of pollution picked up in Ayutthaya range from ‘moderate’ ratings of pollution, such as 34.5 μg/m³ picked up in the month of November (requiring a PM2.5 reading of 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to achieve this title), all the way through to much higher readings, such as 51.3 μg/m³, taken in December and placing the air quality into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket.
These figures are all indicative that Ayutthaya is suffering from some problems related to its air quality, with unsafe amounts of haze and smog permeating the air and affecting its inhabitants.
As touched on briefly, in times prior to 2020 the huge amount of tourism in Ayutthaya would have been responsible for driving up pollution levels, with large amounts of buses and other vehicles ferrying people in and out of the city, giving out noxious fumes containing chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
With a massively reduced amount of tourism present in the latter part of 2020, and pollution levels still hitting high readings, it stands to reason that there are many other sources of pollution besides the tourism industry. Typically, when looking at the rest of Thailand, pollution levels tend to start to rise towards the end of the year, and continue rising until March or April of the next year.
This is largely due to fires occurring around Thailand, with the same going for Ayutthaya, with many of the farmers doing the burning at night time under the cover of darkness, further compounding the enforcement of an already contentious topic. In finishing, a large amount of pollution during the end and beginning of the year in Ayutthaya would find its sources in open burns started by farmers (as well as occasional natural ones occurring occasionally during drier months) and ambient levels of pollution being driven up year-round by the large volume of cars, motorbikes and lorries inhabiting the roads, as well as emissions from factories or industrial zones, a fair amount of which can be found within Ayutthaya.
With smoke and pollution finding its origin in the burning of organic material, many chemical compounds and fine particulate matter such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) would be present in the atmosphere. Both are formed from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (and as such would also be given out by factories as well as vehicles running on diesel) as well as burnt organic matter, with black carbon being a major component in soot.
Other unwanted pollutants in the air would include ones such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), as well as formaldehyde, benzene and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s) all being released from the burning of wood and other dead organic matter. Whilst there would be many more pollutants found in the air if one were to delve deeper, these are the ones of main concern and most likely to be found in higher concentrations, with particular emphasis on nitrogen dioxide and black carbon.
With a large amount of pollution present, particularly during the end part of the year with dangerous numbers being recorded, the health symptoms would also correspond to the level of PM2.5 in the air (as well as that of PM10, although to a somewhat lesser extent due to its larger size). PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, giving it a host of negative properties when inhaled.
With materials such as black carbon, as well as silica particles (often released from poorly maintained construction sites) present in the air, they can make their way deep into people’s lungs and penetrate into the alveoli, or small air sacs that take in oxygen. This can lead to a rise in instances of lung cancer, as well as a reduction in full lung function or a host of pulmonary related conditions such as bronchitis or asthma.
During these more polluted months of the year, the wearing of high-quality particle filtering masks, as available on site, would be highly recommended, as well as the avoidance of outdoor activities. These pollution levels can be monitored via the air quality maps present on the IQAir website as well as on the AirVisual app.
Although it has a close proximity to the capital city of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is heavily lacking in any form of public transport or infrastructure, and as such reliance on personal vehicles to get around would be elevated thus contributing to the year-round pollution levels. Investment in this may become particularly helpful in reducing annual pollution levels.
Other initiatives would be addressing the largest problem, that of the open burning of farm, forest or peat land by farmers that occurs as they prepare the ground for planting prior to the rainy season. The huge amounts of pollution given off by this have drastic consequences on the quality of air in Ayutthaya, as well as all the surrounding cities and provinces affected by the drifting of smoke. Although currently illegal, further enforcement and stamping out of these practices would prove highly effective in reducing Ayutthaya's fairly prominent pollution levels.