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Bangkok Air Pollution 2020


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Morning everyone. Looks like another lovely day. On slow internet at the moment, but my app is showing 223 AQI at the moment. 

 

 

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You havnt missed a thing and I thank you for posting this.  It boggles the mind that this government,  in a complete lockdown, is incapable of controlling the pollution.  This can only mean there is r

This can be moved into the pollution thread. Its been very good for a while, as one may expect with reduced activity. But this morning is a different story AQI 140-170. I thought t

Agree, Crazy that they dont do anything much to curb the burning etc. I dont see traffic that much reduced as expected. Rush hour obviously much less, but there still seems to be plenty on t

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20 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

For whatever reason, for the last two days, the late night / overnight /  early morning hours in BKK have been very bad, but the midday and afternoon hours have improved considerably. Probably because of the winds picking up in the afternoons.

 

1016571960_2020-01-0713_13_27.jpg.eaa525b81d82dd419c887d057417b6ea.jpg

 

This pattern is a constant trend not only in Bangkok but in cities worldwide and it has been observed by many researchers.  There seems to be some controversy as to why but I believe the usual explanation is not so much wind as the heating cycle.  As the afternoon comes on, the ground heats up and so the air at ground level (the most polluted) starts to rise.  This disperses particles.  Later in the day as things cool down, the polluted air sits and may even be held down by an inversion layer.  Not sure if that's exactly the right description but you will see this AQ pattern almost every day.  Best time for air quality is afternoon.  It's deceptive because it FEELS better at night owing to the lower temperature but in fact the air is dirtier.

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18 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

You may have to live with it, if you choose to continue living here.

 

But using a good HEPA air purifier at home and a N95 mask when outside (when the air is bad) can make a major difference, and protect one's health from the seriously bad stuff in the air.

 

Absolutely.  I live in Ploenchit, have a 4 year old son who goes to school there, and I work in Siam.  We use 3 air purifiers at home, but I doubt they have a huge effect.  I'd love to move, byt my work is here.  It's just something I have had to accept. 

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13 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

... The red-orange parts of the year for PM2.5 are really mostly clustered around November to January, sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later. But most of the rest of the year is reasonable.

 

Actually you have to throw in February.  In 2019 February wasn't too bad but in 2017 and 2018 it was even worse than December and a lot worse than November (aqicn.org historicals).  So basically November-February are the problem.  The rest of the year is indeed reasonable.   But that means 4 months/year are to be avoided.   Not a very acceptable situation.  The trouble for me is finding an alternative in Asia.  Outside of Japan and Taiwan there don't seem to be any major cities that are much better.   Don't trust those figures from Malaysia, they don't monitor properly. 

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58 minutes ago, brewsterbudgen said:

Absolutely.  I live in Ploenchit, have a 4 year old son who goes to school there, and I work in Siam.  We use 3 air purifiers at home, but I doubt they have a huge effect.  I'd love to move, byt my work is here.  It's just something I have had to accept. 

get a handheld monitor

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39 minutes ago, TerraplaneGuy said:

Actually you have to throw in February.  In 2019 February wasn't too bad but in 2017 and 2018 it was even worse than December and a lot worse than November (aqicn.org historicals).  So basically November-February are the problem.  The rest of the year is indeed reasonable.   But that means 4 months/year are to be avoided.   Not a very acceptable situation.  The trouble for me is finding an alternative in Asia.  Outside of Japan and Taiwan there don't seem to be any major cities that are much better.   Don't trust those figures from Malaysia, they don't monitor properly. 

Oct-Mar is much more accurate. It changes year to year. Last year Oct was great, this year it was bad. Year before last Feb was the worst month by far and Mar was pretty bad too.

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54 minutes ago, JimShorts said:

The green, yellow, orange, red, etc. color codes which come from the Chinese government are not very accurate.

 

The air pollution chart data we often use here is aggregated and presented by the aqicn.org website and its pulling data from a worldwide network of monitoring stations, including for Thailand the various government operated monitoring sites. AFAIK, that entity is not run by the Chinese government.
 

Quote

 

The World Air Quality Index project is a non-profit project started in 2007. Its mission is to promote air pollution awareness for citizens and provide a unified and world-wide air quality information.

 

The founding team, located in Beijing China, is composed of several contributors in the domain environmental sciences, system engineering, data science, as well as visual design. The team has been expanding worldwide, with new key supporters from Singapore, India, Australia, USA.

The project, despite its social intent and expensive outreach, has never received any public funding. The limited income, essentially from online ads, is used to cover the infrastructure and hardware cost. Engineering work is contributed.

 

 

But more to the point, the AQI data presented there uses the U.S./international standard for assessing health risk, not the Thai standard that allows higher levels of PM2.5 before declaring it unhealthy. IME, the aqicn.org data and charting for Thailand is a pretty good and accurate indicators of local conditions here.

 

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2 hours ago, brewsterbudgen said:

We use 3 air purifiers at home, but I doubt they have a huge effect.

 

Why would you think that?

 

I have HEPA air purifiers at home that I use regularly as needed. I also have a pair of Sndway digital PM2.5 monitors that take readings in real time.

 

I can see the indoor PM2.5 levels when we come home to an empty house. We turn on our air purifiers, and I can see the PM2.5 levels steadily drop until we get them where we want them, based on a combination of the ambient air conditions and what fan speeds we choose to use.

 

As long as they're quality units, the filters are replaced as needed and the units are sized properly for the areas you're trying to keep the air clean for, they'll perform exactly as intended.

 

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2 hours ago, JimShorts said:

The primary source of the air pollution in Thailand is open burning, accounting for over approx 60%. ...

 

Thailand also gets a fair amount of air pollution blowing in from China, India, Vietnam, etc.

JimShorts, thank you very much for the helpful and detailed summary! 

 

I'd add that Myanmar may also be a source for Thailand.... we motorbiked in a loop in December from Mandalay, to areas of Shan and Chin states. Trash burning, including much plastic, was everywhere.  I made the mistake of bringing a SNDWY PM detector. The measurements were depressing, starting with inside the Mandalay hotel room a PM2.5 reading of 90+.   A balloon ride over Bagan was spoiled by being carried through toxic plumes of burning trash.  Mercifully the device broke somewhere along the way and I tried not to think of what we (and the whole population) is breathing every day.  It's sad, but I was happy to get back to Bangkok where the PM levels are generally lower, and we have air purifiers, Filtrete, and masks for protection.

 

Myanmar doesn't yet have that many cars as compared to Thailand.  It would seem the introduction of nonrecycled plastic with no way to dispose of it is driving the problem in Myanmar (probably Thailand too), and some of the Myanmar toxic smog may drift to places in Thailand.  Sadly in Myanmar the population seemed completely unaware, we were told it's just "mist" due to the weather change. 

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1 hour ago, brewsterbudgen said:

And then do what?   Move?

You can't expect other people to hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do. The evidence is very clear that air purifiers and masks are very effective as long as you choose the right ones. The fact that you're saying 'I doubt' without putting forward any evidence shows a pretty half-arsed approach to your own and your family's health. You just need to do some basic research and make your own decisions based on the evidence.

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4 minutes ago, edwardandtubs said:

You can't expect other people to hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do. The evidence is very clear that air purifiers and masks are very effective as long as you choose the right ones. The fact that you're saying 'I doubt' without putting forward any evidence shows a pretty half-arsed approach to your own and your family's health. You just need to do some basic research and make your own decisions based on the evidence.

I take what you're saying and I have been agonizing over what do to since we went through all this last year.  We have an air purifier in each room and they have some effect, but we don't spend all our time at home.  I wear a mask when it's especially bad, but not while at work, and getting my 4 year old to wear one is very difficult.

 

My research clearly shows it would be far healthier to move back to the UK or to move to somewhere with better air quality.  However, my work is here, we have a 2 year contract on our condo and my kid is happy and doing well at school.  My decision is to stay put and deal with the horrible air as best I can.  I don't think that is especially "half-arsed". 

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1 hour ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

Why would you think that?

 

I have HEPA air purifiers at home that I use regularly as needed. I also have a pair of Sndway digital PM2.5 monitors that take readings in real time.

 

I can see the indoor PM2.5 levels when we come home to an empty house. We turn on our air purifiers, and I can see the PM2.5 levels steadily drop until we get them where we want them, based on a combination of the ambient air conditions and what fan speeds we choose to use.

 

As long as they're quality units, the filters are replaced as needed and the units are sized properly for the areas you're trying to keep the air clean for, they'll perform exactly as intended.

 

I hope you're right, otherwise I've wasted money buying them.  My point is that it's impossible to live and work in the centre of town and avoid the air pollution completely.  Even on the days when it's not so bad, it's bad compared to back home.

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2 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

The air pollution chart data we often use here is aggregated and presented by the aqicn.org website and its pulling data from a worldwide network of monitoring stations, including for Thailand the various government operated monitoring sites. AFAIK, that entity is not run by the Chinese government.
 

 

But more to the point, the AQI data presented there uses the U.S./international standard for assessing health risk, not the Thai standard that allows higher levels of PM2.5 before declaring it unhealthy. IME, the aqicn.org data and charting for Thailand is a pretty good and accurate indicators of local conditions here.

 

My bad, I did not explain myself correctly. What I was trying to say is that aqicn.org website is indeed the best measure we have available and I am thankful for the project. However the way most people interpret the AQI colors is inaccurate. Anything other than green is not safe for health, especially for young kids and older people. Yellow and orange are not be careful, they are this is unhealthy. Yellow equals unhealthy. Orange, red, purple and brown are more and more unhealthy. 

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