|1||Chaloem Phra Kiat, Sara Buri|
|2||Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom|
|3||Nong Khai, Nong Khai|
|4||Tha Maka, Kanchanaburi|
|5||Si Chiang Mai, Nong Khai|
|8||Uthai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya|
|9||Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo|
|10||Lat Krabang, Bangkok|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 105 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 37 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 70.5 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Saraburi air is currently 7.4 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Monday, Jan 17|
Unhealthy 158 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 18|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 132 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 19|
Moderate 85 US AQI
|Thursday, Jan 20|
Moderate 90 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 105 US AQI
|Saturday, Jan 22|
Moderate 96 US AQI
|Sunday, Jan 23|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 114 US AQI
|Monday, Jan 24|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 117 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jan 25|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 133 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jan 26|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 119 US AQI
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Saraburi is a city located in Thailand, being the capital city of the province with which it shares the same name. It finds itself just north of Bangkok, with some 61 thousand people living there as of a census taken in 2005 (although this number is sure to have grown since then). It still manages to have a significant economy, with the province in which Saraburi is located having the tenth largest in Thailand. Whilst this is a good factor in terms of the human development index, it is documented that the city of Saraburi, as well as the whole province, is subject to some poor levels of air quality due to a large industry centered around cement production, as well as the stone crushing industry.
This would release a large amount of particulate matter into the air, the effects of which will be discussed in short. In terms of its pollution levels, in early January of 2021 Saraburi was seen with PM2.5 readings going as high as 111 μg/m³, putting it well into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket. This requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such, and as the name implies, denotes a very bad quality of air that has a wide range of detrimental effects on those exposed to it. Whilst there were readings around the same time that came in as low as 38.7 μg/m³, it still stands to reason that the average PM2.5 reading was high enough to demonstrate that Saraburi was subject to some fairly serious levels of air pollution.
As mentioned before, one of the larger or more well known causes of rising pollution levels comes from the concrete and stone crushing industry. This would release vast amounts of fine particulate matter into the air, both being of the PM2.5 and PM10 category (with these denoting a particles length in micrometers, with 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter being the far more harmful of the two). As well as this, there would be many other sources of pollution.
They would include ones such as vehicular emissions, with cars, motorbikes and heavy duty vehicles such as trucks, lorries and buses all contributing to the contamination of the air. These sources are more ambient year round ones that consistently raise the pollution levels. However, the ones that are responsible for the more acute and sizeable spikes in pollution would be sources such as the burning of crop fields or forest land, usually done by farmers and is a practice known as slash and burn farming. Whilst it is more prominent in the northern regions of Thailand, it can still afflict many cities and provinces, and would no doubt be responsible for the highly elevated readings that were taken in January of 2021.
With all of the aforementioned sources of pollution in mind, there would be a direct link with the types of pollutants and chemicals in the air. Some of these would include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which are released in high volume by vehicles, with nitrogen dioxide being one of the main offenders in its release from vehicle engines and exhausts. Others would be the fine particles of gravel, silica and stone or cement dust released from the concrete and stone crushing industry. The smaller these particles become, the more health hazards they yield, and can even combine with other chemical pollutants on a microscopic level to become more potent in their ability to cause harm.
Others that find their release mainly coming from the burning of organic matter and forest land (as well as the occasional open burn of garbage or waste) would be black carbon, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Some examples of VOC's include benzene, methylene chloride, xylene, toluene and formaldehyde.
Some health problems that would arise from breathing pollution in Saraburi would have a wide range of possible symptoms available, due to the variety of air pollutants as well as depending on an individual’s daily routine and how their route of exposure is. Those who are directly affected by the particles released from stone crushing would have issues related to reduced lung function, as well as scar tissue forming in the lungs and even heightened rates of cancer occurring, with silica dust having known carcinogenic properties.
Others would include aggravated asthma attacks triggered off by a multitude of pollutants, including the stone particles, black carbon and soot released from burn sites (as well as vehicles). Other respiratory ailments that would arise from the breathing of these materials, with conditions such as pneumonia, emphysema and bronchitis all topping the list of pulmonary diseases.
Due to its incredibly small size, PM2.5 such as black carbon can penetrate deep into the lung tissues, causing all of the aforementioned problems such as reduced lung function and heightened cancer risks, as well as being able to cross over into the blood stream via the alveoli, or small air sacs. Once in the bloodstream, it can wreak havoc by damaging the blood vessels, as well as causing harm to the liver and kidneys, also reducing fertility rates by damaging the reproductive system. These are but a few of the ill effects caused by over exposure to air pollution in Saraburi.
Some initiatives and protocols that the city of Saraburi could put in place in order to reduce their PM2.5 readings and improve their overall AQI (air quality index) rating would be to implement orders such as placing pollution caps on industrial areas. This would include these stone crushing sites as well as cement plants, with more steps in place to reduce the amounts of particle leakage via the use of filtration systems, hosing down accumulations of dust as well as better maintenance of finely ground rock piles, to ensure that they are not left exposed to the wind or any other methods by which they may enter the atmosphere.
Others would be a gradual move towards lessened reliance on fossil fuels such as diesel and coal, with a slow shift to using renewable and cleaner energy sources being a good step in the right direction to reduce pollution coming from both vehicles and factories. Lastly, with more resources and affirmative action being put into place, the permanent cessation of the slash and burn farming practices, which are responsible for the massive spikes in PM2.5 seen towards the end of the year as well as the first quadrant of the year.