Pattaya’s air suffers unhealthy PM2.5 dust levels

Pattaya air pollution, photo by MGR Online.

Pattaya’s air is suffering from unhealthy PM2.5 dust levels.

The health-hazardous dust level has risen to 174 microgrammes per cubic meter, far above the safety threshold of 50 microgrammes per cubic meter, The Pattaya News reported yesterday. AQI readings above 100 are considered “unhealthy” (red), above 200 are considered “very unhealthy” (purple) and beyond 300 are considered “hazardous.”

The dust level has remained dangerously high since the beginning of February according to officials.

The unhealthy dust covered several areas in Pattaya, including South, Central, and North Pattaya Roads. The fine dust particles pose significant health risks and can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing respiratory issues, and can exacerbate existing health conditions.

According to the officials, the overcast sky is not due to an imminent downpour but due to PM2.5, which is likely to worsen as the weather in Pattaya remains humid.

Authorities advise people in Pattaya to either avoid outdoor activities or wear a proper facial mask that is designed against smog, not a surgical mask, when running errands outside to protect themselves.

Thailand as a whole suffers from poor air quality.

Earlier this month, the country’s capital city of Bangkok was ranked the third worst city in the world for air pollution after PM2.5 dust reached unhealthy levels. Bangkok’s thick levels of dust were only beaten by Mumbai in India at 207 and Lahore in Pakistan

To make matters worse, an uncontrollable fire raging for two days at a rubbish dump in Samut Prakan province, just south of the capital, pumped more PM2.5 dust into the air. The fire plagued a landfill site in the Phraeksa district in an area covering more than 100 rai of land.

Locals complained about suffering from a cough, sore throat, burning eyes, and a foul smell in the air.

The Thai government has taken measures to improve air quality, including promoting the use of public transportation and encouraging people to reduce their use of private vehicles. Despite these efforts, air pollution in Thailand remains a serious problem.

Thailand is set to adjust its standard safety level of air pollution from June 1, 2023. The adjustment will see the safety level change from 50 microns to 37.5 microns as part of a move to help the Pollution Control Department manage air pollution more efficiently.

Pollution Control Department Director-General, Pinsak Suraswadi, says currently the PCD has implemented its Level 3 plan. The plan deems that the department must seek cooperation from employers by allowing their staff to work from home. It also deems that the department must request that motorists reduce their use of private cars, and instead, seek public transportation if possible.

According to Thai PBS World, the plan also mandates that construction sites reduce activities that push dust into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the plan prohibited burning waste in the open.

Environment News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.