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Greenpeace publishes City Rankings for pm2.5 in Thailand for the First Time

CityNews – Greenpeace Southeast Asia has published its first City Rankings for pm2.5 for Thailand, aiming to help provide the public with more comprehensive air quality data, including pm2.5 concentrations.

This document, the first of its kind in Thailand – details the air quality data in Thailand, downloaded from the Pollution Control Department’s monitoring stations. These ten stations monitor particulate matter, measuring pm2.5 levels as well as pm10 levels.

The City Rankings for Thailand found that From January-July 2016, the five cities with the highest pm2.5 concentrations include Chiang Mai, Lampang, Khon Kaen, Bangkok and Ratchaburi. Seven out of the eleven cities measured (63.6%) did not reach the ‘National Ambient Air Quality Standard’ annual limit of 25 μg/m3 for PM2.5 and all 11 cities measured did not reach the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline annual limit of 25 μg/m3.

In both 2015 and 2014, Chiang Mai topped the nation’s average maximum monthly pm2.5 levels, measuring 266 and 188 respectively.

The report lists the estimated emissions (tonnes/year) from different sources contributing to air pollution, where open burning was found to be the highest contributor to pm2.5 levels, measuring at almost 210,000 tonnes/year – over three times as high as the second major contributor – manufacturing industries.

Thailand’s national air quality standards are weak compared to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations. The annual standard for the most dangerous pollutants, pm2.5, is 25 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) – 2.5 times as high as the WHO guideline.

The report also added that the current AQI Thailand uses is still based on pm10 and vastly under-reports air pollution levels and underestimates health risks.

The report also set out a list of demands to the Thai government, urging authorities to install and monitor pm2.5 in all monitoring stations in Thailand, immediately upgrade Thailand’s AQI to incorporate pm2.5 readings and to monitor, regulate and control air pollutants from existing coal plants.

They also call on Thailand to honour its commitment to the Haze-free ASEAN by 2020 agreement, by controlling and preventing the burning of agricultural materials and waste in plantations, forests and preserved areas and to promote clean fuel and create easily accessible mass transit systems to reduce vehicle pollution levels.

The full report can be read by clicking the link below, along with detailed reports on emission standards, sources of pollutants, AQI scales and a full list of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s demands.

greenpeace.or.th/s/right-to-clean-air/PM2.5CityRankingsREV.pdf