Thailand’s escalating smog crisis: 48 provinces engulfed by unsafe air quality

Heavy smog has engulfed 48 out of Thailand’s 77 provinces, rendering the air quality unsafe due to high levels of ultra-fine dust. As of this morning, Tuesday, January 9, 21 provinces reported red-level air pollution, a serious health threat.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) reported that the particulate matter 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter (PM2.5) levels reached between 75.9 to 145.2 microgrammes per cubic metre of air over the past 24 hours at 9am today. This was a significant increase from yesterday’s hazardous PM2.5 levels, which ranged between 38.1 and 112.3µg/m³ across 41 provinces. For reference, the government’s safe threshold for PM2.5 is set at 37.5µg/m³.

The 21 provinces under red-level air pollution in Thailand, listed in descending order, are Samut Sakhon (145.2µg/m³), Samut Songkhram (135.7µg/m³), Nakhon Pathom (120.1µg/m³), Nonthaburi (116.3), Bangkok (111.8), Ang Thong 104.4), Samut Prakan (103.4), Pathum Thani (102.5), Ratchaburi (101.4), Lop Buri (98.0), Sing Buri (96.7), Ayutthaya, 94.7), Chai Nat (94.3), Saraburi (94.1), Phetchaburi (93.0), Suphan Buri (90.8), Kanchanaburi (83.2), Chachoengsao (81.7), Uthai Thani (80.7), Prachin Buri (77.9) and Nakhon Sawan (75.9).

Additionally, 27 provinces have reported orange levels of PM2.5, signifying a preliminary degree of health harm. These provinces include Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Tak, Sukhothai, Chanthaburi, Phetchabun, Kamphaeng Phet, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Lamphun, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Maha Sarakham, Nong Bua Lamphu, Kalasin, Buri Ram, Ubon Ratchathani, Trat, Surin, Phrae, Loei and Roi Et.

GISTDA’s map revealed the predominant areas affected by orange and red PM2.5 levels this morning were mainly in the Central Plain. The escalating smog crisis underscores the urgent need for air pollution control measures, reported Bangkok Post.

Thailand last month was also hit by hazardous levels of ultrafine dust. The dust engulfed 50 Thai provinces, as reported by GISTDA. The Central Plains and the northeast were the hardest hit regions.

GISTDA’s update on its website highlighted that mostly central plains and northeastern provinces were among the 50 out of 77 provinces cloaked in dangerous concentrations of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter (PM2.5) To read more about it click the ultrafine dust blankets 50 Thai provinces.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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