Air pollution hits hazardous levels in the North and Northeast, as the level of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was found to have reached harmful levels in many provinces.
Data from the Pollution Control Department (PCD) air quality monitoring system yesterday showed that the daily average PM2.5 levels in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Lampang had risen beyond Thailand’s safe level of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air. PM2.5 measurements in those provinces were at 80.65, 64.95 and 50mg respectively.The other PM2.5 monitoring stations in these regions, which are at Tak’s Mae Sot district and Nan’s Chaloem Phra Kiat district, showed daily average levels of PM2.5 had still not exceeded the safe limit, but the data showed that the levels were slowly increasing.
Currently, there are five air quality monitoring stations in nine provinces of the Northern region, which can measure PM2.5 levels and report the realtime results on the PCD website, while there is only one station that reports PM2.5 levels for all 20 provinces of the Northeastern region.
Greenpeace has encouraged the PCD to install more PM2.5 monitoring devices to cover the entire nation, to include PM2.5 level in the national Air Quality Index (AQI) and to report realtime PM2.5 levels on an hourly basis.
According to the PCD, the AQI, which does not include PM2.5 levels, showed that air quality throughout the country yesterday, including areas affected by smog in the North, were within safe levels.
It was reported in the North that dense smog throughout Chiang Mai resulted in lowered visibility. Doi Su Thep Mountain could no longer be seen from Chiang Mai’s downtown area.