Bangkok is third most polluted city in the world

Photo via Twitter @MsLisaWilliams

Bangkok was ranked the third worst city in the world for air pollution after PM2.5 dust reached unhealthy levels.

A heavy blanket of smog encased the capital’s skyscrapers as nationwide agricultural burning and forest fires pumped tiny dust particulates into the air, exacerbated by the city’s chockablock traffic and stone-dry weather.

At 10am, Bangkok’s air quality index (AQI) measured 198, according to IQAir, a technology partner of the UN Environmental Programme.

AQI readings above 100 are considered “unhealthy” (red), above 200 are considered “very unhealthy” (purple) and beyond 300 are considered “hazardous.”

Bangkok’s thick levels of dust were only beaten by Mumbai in India at 207 and Lahore in Pakistan at 202 this morning.

The capital of the North – Chiang Mai City – also ranks highly at No.8 most polluted city in the world today, with PM2.5 levels reaching 165.

PM2.5 dust particles are so small that they can penetrate deep into the respiratory tract and into the lungs. Short-term health impacts include irritated eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath.

Exposure to PM2.5 can affect lung function and worsen asthma and heart disease. Studies have linked PM2.5 exposure to increased cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

PM2.5 dust particles are so small that they will transpire straight through a regular surgical face mask. The only mask that filters out PM2.5 dust particles are an N95 mask, which is highly recommended to be worn outside in Bangkok this week.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt urges Bangkokians to refrain from exercising outdoors, use public transport and work from home where possible to reduce the impact of air pollution.

At 8am this morning, air pollution in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok, reached “very unhealthy” levels at 262. All outdoor activities have been cancelled and students must stay indoors all day.

Bangkok climbs to #3 most polluted city in the world


Environment News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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