Bangkok air pollution spreading North
THE NORTH WAS choking on air pollution yesterday amid steadily increasing levels of particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10) and 2.5 microns (PM2.5), while air pollution in Bangkok continued to be a problem.
The Pollution Control Department (PCD) announced there had been an increase in air pollution in the North since the beginning of February, causing seasonal haze in the area, while the highest PM10 levels as of yesterday were in Tak’s Mae Sot district at 136 micrograms per cubic metre of air.
PCD air-quality monitoring stations in the North showed not only PM10 levels were on the rise, but concentrations of smaller and more dangerous PM2.5 were increasing as well. PM2.5 levels in Mae Sot were 84.46mg, Chiang Mai at 58.6mg and Lampang’s Mae Moh district at 64.71mg, all of which exceeded Thailand’s safety standard of a daily overage of 50mg. The World Health Organisation’s safety standard for PM2.5 is only 25mg.
The PCD has warned local authorities in nine northern provinces to strictly enforce the ban on burning outdoors, if their ban period has met, while if their ban period still did not come they were told to stop burning when PM10 levels reached more than 100mg. The department also asked people in the North not to burn fields during the period, as calm weather and the lack of wind would allow particulate matter to accumulate to dangerous levels.
Meanwhile, people in Bangkok are still suffering from harmful levels of air pollution in the absence of rain that would cleanse the air and PM2.5 measurements were still over safety limits at every air-quality monitoring station.The highest recorded daily PM2.5 level, according to the PCD, was in Thonburi district at 73.37mg, followed by Pathumwan district at 62.79mg, Wang Thonglang district at 62.50mg and Bang Na district at 60.28mg.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has proposed measures to tackle air pollution, such as enforcing stricter pollution-emissions monitoring for cars, solving traffic congestion, asking drivers to stop their car engines when parked, imposing stricter rules for construction sites, growing more trees and cleaning the roads more often.