12 July 2024

The return of haze to Bangkok and its peripherals will incur a health derived opportunity cost to the economy, estimated at 700-800 million baht, if the poor air quality lasts another two weeks, according to the Kasikorn Thai Research Centre.

The research centre said that many people in affected areas are being forced to change their routines, such as cancelling outdoor activities or having to pay more to protect themselves against the haze.

It also said the haze, if prolonged, could hurt the tourism sector as visitors reconsider plans to visit Bangkok and adjacent provinces. The government would also be forced to set aside emergency funds to mitigate the haze problem, such as relaunching cloud seeding operations.

The research centre suggested the government map out long-term plans to deal with the haze, which should include education to increase awareness of environmental conservation among the public, and continuous monitoring of dust emissions and other factory derived pollutants.

Air quality in Bangkok and its peripherals is deteriorating, with the atmosphere in 22 areas presenting a health risk due to excessive levels of PM2.5 dust particles.

The Pollution Control Department reported that, at 6am today (Tuesday) air quality monitoring devices indicated PM2.5 readings ranging from 42-79 micrograms/cubic metre in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom provinces.

Areas with excessive PM2.5 dust particles in Bangkok, which pose a health risk are:

  • Tambon Hirunrujee, Thon Buri district, 52 microns
  • Both sides of Kanchanapisek road in Bang Khun Thian district, 73 microns
  • Tambon Bang Na in Bang Na district, 55 microns
  • Tambon Klong Chan, Bang Kapi district, 55 microns
  • Tambon Din Daeng in Din Daeng district, 58 microns
  • Tambon Chong Nonsee, Yan Nawa district, 54 microns
  • Both sides of Rama IV road in Pathumwan district, 62 microns
  • Both sides of Intharapitak road, Thon Buri district, 58 microns
  • Both sides of Lat Phrao road in Wang Thong Lang district, 61 microns
  • Both sides of Din Daeng road in Din Daeng district, 79 microns
  • Tambon Phya Thai in Phya Thai district, 54 microns
  • Tambon Plubpla in Wang Thong Lang district, 69 microns
  • Tambon Klong Gum, Klong Gum district, 70 microns

Pollution Control Department chief Pralongphon Damrongthai said yesterday, after a meeting regarding the haze problem chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, that people should not panic over the high level of PM2.5 particulate matter, but should wear face masks when outdoors.

He also advised the public to stay tuned to the department’s regular updates.