The air we breathe

Right to Clean Air. Photo ©

Do you have any idea what is in the air that you are breathing? What if air pollution and very tiny particles can be magnified and made visible? What would you do if you found out?

To get all the answers, Greenpeace Southeast Asia is holding an event titled "Right To Clean Air -- The Art Exhibition", featuring a collection of artworks made from dust collected from various places. On view at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), the exhibition starts today and runs until Jan 28 from 10am to 9pm. The opening ceremony will be organised today at 1pm.

"Right To Clean Air" is designed to raise public awareness and call attention with regard to the hazard caused by small particulates.

The exhibition also calls for the Pollution Control Department to impose stricter standards on particulate matter in Thailand's Air Quality Index. Greenpeace is asking the agency to monitor and enforce preventive measures on PM2.5 (particulates of less than 2.5 microns in size), in order to protect the health of the people.

Artworks and photographs on display are created by Bangkok-based artist Ruangsak Anuwatwimon, who is known for his conceptual pieces utilising different media. For this collection, he uses dust gathered from various places in Thailand in order to highlight the impact of air pollution from particulate matter.

Among the highlights is an art installation titled Memory, featuring a life-size sculpture shaped like a child, mother and an elderly person. Made by a papier-mâché technique, the sculpture is covered in dust collected from several polluted locations. It reflects the air-pollution crisis and the urgency to solve the issue. Surrounding the sculpture are more than 20 art installations of leaves covered in dust, Monolith Souvenir, representing the consequences of poisonous particulates that affect not only humans, but also nature.

Moreover, there will be a photo exhibition showing the dangers caused by particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns. The event includes seminars and panel discussions with experts that will take place from 2-5pm on opening day. There will also be talks called "Liveable City 4.0" on Jan 19 at 3pm, "Transboundary Air Pollution In Southeast Asia" on Jan 26 at 3pm and "Dusk Talk: Behind The Scene Of Polluted Places" on Jan 28 at 2pm.

According to data from the Institute for Health and Education, Washington University and the World Bank, air pollution is responsible for around 50,000 premature deaths in Thailand each year. Exposure to PM2.5 can lead to cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases and strokes, as well as greater cancer risks. Transportation, electricity-generation, industries and open burning are major sources of PM2.5 in Thailand.



Memory, a life-size sculpture covered in dusts.

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