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Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution




Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the State of Global Air 2020 Report, around 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand, back in 2019, have been attributed to air pollution. The report cites the PM2.5 pollution particles as the main culprit as particles in that size range are the most likely to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.

Exposure to these fine particles can cause short-term health effects, such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. But the long-term effects of being exposed to the particles is much more sinister.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be more sensitive to PM2.5 particles.

In Thailand, it’s burning season in the north as farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to

SOURCE: Sky News/


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  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Well what can they grow that does not need burning off?
    Bananas. Pineapples Coconuts, There are plenty, so just ban corn growing that is burnt off.
    That appears to cause the most smoke.
    Sugar cane is burnt to make it easier to harvest. Limit the growing of sugar cane.
    Rice is burnt but it does not appear to cause a lot of smoke.
    They can shut down provinces because of covid, so why can they not shut down a few farms because of smoke?

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    What about covid?

  3. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    What has happened to Issan John.
    Why is he not disputing my posts.
    Who has offended him?
    You should know how sensitive he is . . .
    Issan john don’t just sulk, and give us the silent treatment.
    I miss the hilarity I had when reading your posts.
    I often fell off my chair . . .

  4. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    I’m no Covid sceptic, aside from US-made vaccines, but when you consider this statistic and the road deaths, compared to Covid deaths in even the worst affected countries, you’ve got to wonder what is going. I think we’re going to have to consider it as flu henceforth and get back to normal. As for air pollution, I’m afraid Thailand will always be a developing nation – pollution, trash, poor roads, education, red-tape, corruption, you name it; it’s just not a hard-working, rules-based culture.

  5. Avatar

    Mark Jones

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    The food producing corporations are responsible for the burning. They exert pressure on farmers to produce at low cost and they also exert pressure on the Thai governments by threatening to import raw materials instead. It’s a no win situation.

  6. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Thailand deaths from Air pollution over the last 10 years is a silent killer and possibly equal to the high road toll
    AS for Sugar Cane only very poor developed countries still burn it
    Australia produces millions of tones of Sugar cane a year over 40 years ago burning was banned as cane harvesters came into being
    yes big machines that cut harvest and pack sugar cane with a mulch left for Agricultural needs
    Why has the Thai Gov not invested in these cultivators to hire out to each farmer to cut h

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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