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Air Pollution

Air pollutant PM2.5 rises to unhealthy levels in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Unsplash: Nick Van den Berg

Start wearing a N95 face mask when walking in Bangkok, the air pollutant PM2.5 is at unhealthy levels. 34 areas in the city and in surrounding provinces have levels of PM2.5 exceeding the safety standard, according to an air quality report by the Department of Pollution Control.

The air pollutant PM2.5 is fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. At high levels, the pollutant can be harmful to people’s health. Due to its small size, PM2.5 can get deep into the respiratory tract and lungs. It can also potentially enter the bloodstream.

The Department of Pollution Control reported today that 34 areas in Bangkok and surrounding provinces have PM2.5 levels that exceed 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). Levels over 50 µg/m3 are considered unhealthy.

Under the US Air Quality Index, which measures the concentration of air pollutants, Bangkok air is at “unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.” An AQI at 0 to 50 is considered safe, while 300 and up is considered dangerous…

  • 0-50: Good
  • 51-100: Moderate
  • 101-150:Unhealthy for sensitive groups
  • 151-200: Unhealthy
  • 201-300: Very unhealthy
  • 301-500: Hazardous

Today, Bangkok ranked 23 in the most polluted cities in the world in a list by IQ Air with an AQI of 121 and a PM2.5 level of 43.6 µg/m3. The rankings by IQ Air are constantly changing. Bangkok’s air quality is forecasted to reach “unhealthy” levels this weekend with an ASQ of 156 to 164.

To protect yourself from air pollution, IQ Air recommends wearing a air pollution protection face mask, reducing outdoor exercise, closing windows to avoid dirty outdoor air and running an air purifier.



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  1. Avatar

    jesus MOnroe

    Friday, December 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    cough cough cough…….stay away stay away stay away

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      You should see the state of some other places… Chongqing… Jakarta… hopefully the world is waking up to this, and will start rolling out monitoring and standards, but without reliable enforcement & financial penalties, expanding human population is going to pollute itself to death.

      • Avatar

        Jesus Monroe

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        Sadly true Pressy

      • Avatar


        Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 12:21 am

        Nah, we just spent $40 trillion on a largely failed effort to mitigate the effects of a flu virus with a 0.2% fatality rate that largely effects octogenarians at the end of their lives.

        I don’t think there’s much left for real problems.

  2. Avatar


    Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Choking on traffic and uncontrolled construction! Thais don’t seem to give a famn

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    I’m past caring. They know what needs to be done, but it will cost money.
    Make all future cars with catalytic converters.

  4. Avatar


    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Thailand is a third world country with 1/8 of USA GDP per capita. No one there is going to spend any money to clean the air. If you want cleaner air then get out of Bangkok. If you want a Bangkok lifestyle, at cheap prices compared to the west, then part of the cost is potential respiratory problems.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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