Air Quality Numbers in Chiang Mai Contradictory

 | Fri 14 Mar 2014 12:46 ICT

CityNews – Statistics regarding air quality (PM10: particulate matter) in Chiang Mai differ from 87 PM10 to 129 PM10 depending on the source. According to World Air ( readings show that in the past two days the maximum PM10 was 87 micrograms per cubic meter, noticeably under the government imposed danger limit of 120. Thailand’s Pollution Control Department ( published numbers that were much higher, exceeding the safe zone at 129 ug/m3.

The difference of 42 ug/m3 is remarkable. The air quality does not pose a health risk between 51 – 100 ug/m3 but once it exceeds these levels it can lead to health problems for people with respiratory and heart disease as well as the elderly and children. Nonthaburi is experiencing the worst air pollution in Thailand with PM10 readings at 206, levels that are very unhealthy to the general population and it is advised to stay indoors. Despite the rise in air pollution, there has been no significant increase in smog patients in the eight affected Northern provinces according to permanent Secretary for Public Health MD Narong Sahamethaphat.  

Thailand has an annual average of 53 ug/m3 (World Bank: 2010), well under the regions’s (Southeast Asia) average of 97 ug/m3 (WHO: 2010). Sudan has the world’s highest concentration of particulate matter with an average of 137 ug/m3 (World Bank: 2010).