The realities of PM2.5 in Thailand revealed by ‘Check Dust’

Photo courtesy of Pattaya News

Thailand is facing a grave environmental crisis as PM 2.5 levels soar to dangerous heights, threatening the health of millions.

The Thai Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), in partnership with the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) and other relevant bodies, took decisive action to combat this escalating threat.

The Check Dust application, utilising cutting-edge satellite technology and AI, revealed a disturbing reality with PM 2.5 concentrations reaching hazardous levels in several provinces, posing severe health risks to the populace.

According to satellite data obtained through the Check Dust application at 8am yesterday, February 8, alarming levels of PM 2.5 were identified in 14 provinces across Thailand, posing significant health hazards to respiratory systems.

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The highest concentration was recorded in Mukdahan, with an astounding 110.9 microgrammes per cubic metre, followed by Yasothon, Kalasin, Roi Et, Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Phanom, Maha Sarakham, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Sakon Nakhon, Chai Nat, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai. However, in Bangkok, the air quality remained relatively good, with PM 2.5 levels ranging from moderate to very good.

Furthermore, GISTDA reported a staggering 1,320 hotspots across Thailand on Wednesday, February 7. These hotspots were predominantly located in protected forest areas, national forest reserves, agricultural areas, communities, and other regions.

Notably, Kanchanaburi topped the list with 338 hotspots, closely followed by Chaiyaphum with 212 and Nakhon Ratchasima with 77. The severity of the situation was not limited to Thailand alone, as neighbouring countries also grappled with significant hotspot challenges. Myanmar reported 1,059 hotspots, while Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam faced 407, 351, and 215 hotspots, respectively, reported Pattaya News.

The Check Dust application, a revolutionary tool, leverages satellite technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse hourly PM 2.5 data nationwide. This innovative app incorporates data from the Department of Pollution Control and weather conditions from the Meteorological Department, as well as hotspot information, presenting users with comprehensive numerical and colour-coded data for better understanding, as confirmed by GISTDA.

In light of these alarming findings, citizens are strongly advised to wear masks when outdoors to mitigate potential health risks, especially those linked to respiratory illnesses.

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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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