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Bangkok on high alert as PM2.5 levels forecast to rise

Bangkok on high alert as PM2.5 levels forecast to rise

THAILAND: Bangkok yesterday (Jan 8) recorded the world's third worst air quality on Air Visual, a popular app monitoring pollution, while City Hall is on high alert for a predicted rise in PM2.5 levels until the end of this week.

environmenthealthpollution
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 9 January 2020, 10:18AM


Bangkok recorded the world’s third worst air quality yesterday (Jan 8) and the city is on high alert for the rest of the week. Photo: AFP

Bangkok recorded the world’s third worst air quality yesterday (Jan 8) and the city is on high alert for the rest of the week. Photo: AFP

The level of PM2.5 at 9:30am on Wednesday rose to over 119 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), placing the Thai capital third behind only Australia's Canberra and India's New Delhi in terms of air pollution.

However, by 6pm the level of PM2.5 had dropped to 33.9µg/m³, placing the city 32nd on the app's real-time ranking of the world's air quality.

In a related development, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has put its health officials on high alert following a rise of PM2.5 - hazardous ultra-fine dust - in 38 of 50 areas in the capital and adjacent provinces.

According to the Pollution Control Department (PCD), the levels of fine particulate matter in the 38 areas ranged from 40 to 71µg/m³.

Muang district of Samut Prakan was the worst polluted with 71, followed by Krathum Baen district in Samut Sakhon and Bung Kum district in the capital with 70. Other unhealthy areas were Bang Khunthian, Bang Na, Pathumwan, Thon Buri and Wang Thonglang districts.

Muang district of Nakhon Pathom, Pakkret district of Nonthaburi, Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani, Phra Pradaeng district of Samut Prakan were also among the worst areas.

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The PM2.5 levels have worsened since Monday. The government considers readings of 51 or more unsafe for health. Elsewhere in the world the safe level is usually much lower.

Chawin Sirinak, director of the BMA's Health Department, said the Communicable Diseases Control Division is closely following guidelines drawn up to help authorities effectively respond to air pollution concerns.

He said officials at mobile units led by 68 health offices were instructed to step up an awareness campaign among city residents, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with heart and respiratory complaints.

The health mobile units are instructed to step up monitoring of vulnerable groups if PM2.5 levels register between 76-100µg/m³ for three consecutive days.

The PCD sets the so-called safe threshold of PM2.5 at 50µg/m³. The fine dust can cause severe respiratory disorders, especially among vulnerable groups. People with underlying health problems were advised to wear face mask and avoid non-essential outdoor activities.

To help relieve the situation, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has ordered the police to strictly monitor emissions from vehicles and factories and enforce the ban on open-air burning.

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Kurt | 11 January 2020 - 14:13:02

It is time Thai leadership starts to think out of the traditional thai box. Learn, accept, and understand there is a climate change going on. Water and Air, that are the issues to address in a new frame work of thinking in order to safe future of Thailand.. For that you need scientists, local and international younger people/scientists. Not paper bureaucrats.

Kurt | 11 January 2020 - 10:48:10

Bangkok on 'High Alert'! Wow, that sounds active. But, ..more than just words and throwing around 'orders' left and right is not happening. Not a single black smoke fuming bus will be taken of the road. Bangkok simply just 'sit it out' until mother nature is willing to clear out Bangkok without the 'help' of Officialdom.

Jor12 | 10 January 2020 - 16:07:31

I am sure the authorities will take your silly advice. Singapore experiences the same problems as do several other large cities throughout the world including Los Angeles. 

Kurt | 09 January 2020 - 17:09:07

'Order' strictly monitor vehicles emissions and enforce open-air burnings BEFORE this Bangkok and ChiangMai health disaster starts, and do it for 365 days  of the year, Health/Interior Minister!  Handle this stuff like they do in Singapore. Learn from them something, and practice it in Thailand. is that so difficult?  Become active.   Pffff.

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