Oriental dollarbird falls from the sky in Bangkok due to suspected PM2.5 poisoning

A sick Oriental dollarbird fell from Bangkok‘s polluted sky near Lumpini Park on Wednesday. Veterinarians examined the bird to find that it was suffering from severe pneumonia in both lungs. They suspected it was caused by PM2.5 dust pollution poisoning.

Kaset Sudecha, a veterinarian from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Kasetsart University, posted a photo of the bird on Facebook on Wednesday, explaining that air pollution caused by PM2.5 dust particles affects all forms of life.

For example, the Oriental dollarbird is a beautiful, colourful, distinctive migratory bird found in the wild from Australia to Japan to India. In Thailand, this bird can be found in all regions and often migrates over Bangkok, said the vet.

On Wednesday, an Oriental dollarbird fell from the sky and landed in front of a house near Lumpini Park in central Bangkok. It was unwell but still alive. A kind person picked it up and took it to the vet.

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Radiographic imaging revealed that the bird didn’t suffer any broken bones in the fall but was suffering from severe pneumonia – or lung inflammation – in both of its tiny lungs, which is most likely the reason it became weak and fell, said the vet.

Due to breathing in PM2.5 dust particulates in the air, “this bird would have suffered from sore eyes, throat and shortness of breath until its oxygen levels decreased, causing it to become dizzy, faint and fall from the sky,” said the vet.

“People will suffer the exact same symptoms,” the vet warned. “This is an indicator of the quality of air in the city,” he added. It’s a wake-up call from nature.

The vet said that human activity is the cause of PM2.5 pollution and will come back to humans. Smaller creatures will be affected first, and will show us the symptoms caused by pollution poisoning, he said.

“I’d like to send a stern warning to the public sector, private sector and the population – please turn your attention to the environmental problems around you and help to fix them as much as you can.”

“Please, because nature has given us a clear warning.”

Today, Bangkok’s air quality index (AQI) is deemed “unhealthy.”

If you live in an area affected by PM2.5 pollution, it is recommended to wear an N95 mask outdoors, avoid exercising outdoors, keep your windows closed and use an air purifier at home.

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leah

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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