Thailand has been facing an alarming air pollution crisis recently, with the current data from the IQAir air quality index revealing that Thailand ranks 20th in the world for poor air quality. As of 10 am today, the concentration of PM2.5, a hazardous type of air pollution, in Bangkok has escalated to 132 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3), categorizing it as “severe.”
The situation is not only confined to the capital of the country; several other regions in Thailand also are grappling with alarming levels of air pollution. Chiang Mai leads the list with a PM2.5 concentration of 165 µg/m3, followed closely by Khon Kaen at 155 µg/m3 and Nakhon Ratchasima at 150 µg/m3. Other affected areas include Songkhla (145 µg/m3), Udon Thani (140 µg/m3), Buriram (135 µg/m3), Phuket (130 µg/m3), and Nakhon Sawan (125 µg/m3).
PM2.5 is known for its fine particles that can perforate deep into the lungs and bloodstream and pose severe health risks. Exposure to such high concentrations can lead to several respiratory problems, heart disease, and even cancer, making it a serious concern for public health in Thailand.
Despite efforts by the government of Thailand to battle against air pollution, the problem persists. Several measures have been implemented, including a ban on burning agricultural waste, a crackdown on illegal logging, and incentives promoting the use of public transportation and electric vehicles. These initiatives aim to lessen the sources of air pollution and encourage a shift towards cleaner modes of transport.
However, the persistence of severe air pollution levels raises questions about the effectiveness of these measures and highlights the need for more comprehensive and immediate actions. Experts emphasize the importance of a multi-pronged approach, involving stricter enforcement of existing regulations, investment in renewable energy, and increased public awareness.
As citizens grapple with the health implications of the ongoing crisis, calls for urgent and decisive action to tackle air pollution are increasing.