Bangkok has world's third worst air quality

Bangkok on Wednesday recorded the world's third worst air quality on Air Visual, a popular app monitoring pollution, and PM2.5 levels are predicted to rise until the end of this week.

The level of PM2.5 at 9.30am on Wednesday rose to over 119 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), placing the Thai capital third behind only Australia's Canberra and India's New Delhi in terms of air pollution.

However, by 6pm the level of PM2.5 had dropped to 33.9µg/m³, placing the city 32nd on the app's real-time ranking of the world's air quality.

In a related development, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has put its health officials on high alert following a rise of PM2.5 in 38 of 50 areas in the capital and adjacent provinces.

The PM2.5 levels have worsened since Monday. The government considers readings of 51 or more unsafe for health. Elsewhere in the world the safe level is usually much lower.

The director of the BMA's Health Department said officials at mobile units led by 68 health offices were instructed to step up an awareness campaign among city residents, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with heart and respiratory complaints.

The fine dust can cause severe respiratory disorders. People with underlying health problems were advised to wear face masks and avoid non-essential outdoor activities.

To help relieve the situation, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has ordered the police to strictly monitor emissions from vehicles and factories and enforce the ban on open-air burning.

Related search: air quality, air, health, third worst air

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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