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Thailand Grapples with PM2.5 Crisis: Unseen Air Pollution Menace Prompts Nationwide Action

Imagine waking up to a world shrouded in a veil of mysterious haze, where the air is tinged with an invisible enemy – fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5). In what sounds like the premise of a futuristic novel, 30 provinces across the kingdom, including the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, find themselves in this exact scenario. The sky is a canvas of grey, and the air, a cocktail of unseen particles that prompt schools nationwide to rethink recess and outdoor sports, safeguarding the health of their young charges from the invisible menace.

The Pollution Control Department’s (PCD) Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation, as of the early hours of yesterday, sounded the alarm bells. The fine particle levels in the breath of northeastern and central Thailand were found vaulting over the safety net, with a reading going beyond 37.5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³), raising eyebrows and concerns alike.

Adding to the chorus of alerts, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s (Gistda) innovative Check Foon app painted the northeast in shades of red – symbolizing alarm. Ten provinces found themselves bathed in this hue, signifying seriously harmful pollution levels. Among them, places with a rich tapestry of culture and nature like Ubon Ratchathani, Yasothon, and Si Sa Ket, now share a common, less desirable trait – air quality concerns.

In the heart of Thailand, Bangkok, the city that never sleeps, finds its energy sapped by the pervasive dust. The Air Quality Information Centre reports certain districts garbed in orange – a level just shy of red but alarming nonetheless. Nong Chok, Wang Thong Lang, and Bung Kum are just a few areas where residents peek out their windows to a world dimmed by particulate matter.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, Karom Polpornklang, the Deputy Government Spokesman, relayed that the Education Ministry has taken decisive steps. A clarion call to cease all outdoor play and learning was sent out to schools, echoed by the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec), emphasizing the health of students as paramount.

In a storyline that extends beyond borders, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed concerns over the cloak of pollution draping parts of Thailand. A conversation with Hun Manet, his Cambodian counterpart, is on the books, poised to tackle this transboundary issue before an official visit adds more to the agenda.

A further twist involves an unlikely villain – smog from Cambodia, coupled with burnt rice stubble from Kong district in Nakhon Ratchasima, thickening the plot and the air, contributing significantly to the environmental conundrum.

In response, the skies over Thailand might soon witness an orchestrated dance of clouds and rain, courtesy of Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan, deputy premier and minister of Natural Resources and Environment. Orders for rain-making operations, in collaboration with the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, have been dispatched with hopes of cleansing the air. A solution that seems almost mythic, turning to the heavens to wash away the troubles of the earth.

As Thailand stands at this crossroads, battling an insidious enemy that blurs the line between visibility and health, the efforts of its people and leaders reflect a resilience and ingenuity. From technology like the Check Foon app to age-old rainmaking, the fight against PM2.5 is a testament to human ingenuity and the collective spirit of safeguarding our environment for the generations to come. But as we ponder solutions, one thing remains clear – the air we breathe is a precious commodity, one we must protect with every resource at our disposal.


  1. SkyWatcher22 February 2, 2024

    Hard to believe that in 2023 we’re still facing these issues with air pollution. Didn’t we learn anything from the past environmental disasters?

    • NatureLover February 2, 2024

      It’s not about learning from the past. The real issue is the lack of serious global commitment to tackle these problems head-on.

      • TechieGenius February 2, 2024

        Exactly, but we can’t ignore the role of technology in monitoring and potentially solving these issues. The Check Foon app is a step in the right direction.

    • SkyWatcher22 February 2, 2024

      Agree, but while technology helps, there’s nothing that replaces clean, actionable policies that prevent such issues in the first place.

  2. EcoWarrior February 2, 2024

    Suspicious how quickly we resort to rainmaking. Shouldn’t this be our last resort? We should focus more on preventing pollution rather than finding temporary fixes.

  3. GlobalThinker February 2, 2024

    This problem isn’t just Thailand’s; it’s a stark reminder of how pollution knows no borders. International collaboration is key.

    • Realist123 February 2, 2024

      International collaboration sounds good on paper, but the real challenge is getting countries to agree on and adhere to regulations.

    • OptimistPrime February 3, 2024

      Challenges aside, the upcoming talks between Thailand and Cambodia show promise. It’s a step in the right direction towards international cooperation.

  4. ScienceBuff February 2, 2024

    The science behind rainmaking as a solution to pollution is fascinating. I wonder how efficient this method is compared to other air purification strategies.

    • SkepticGuy February 3, 2024

      It seems like a temporary band-aid to me. The pollutants are still there, just washed away temporarily. We need more sustainable solutions.

  5. AngryBird February 3, 2024

    Why aren’t we talking more about the health impacts? I can’t imagine what it’s like for people living there. Something needs to be done now, not later!

    • HealthFirst February 3, 2024

      Absolutely agree. The health implications, especially for children, are worrying. Outdoor activities are important for development, and now they’re being compromised.

      • ProfessorX February 3, 2024

        The impact on respiratory health cannot be overstated. Short-term mitigation is needed, but long-term health studies will be necessary to fully understand the repercussions.

  6. RuralReader February 3, 2024

    It’s not just the cities. Rural areas are suffering too. Burning rice stubble is a traditional practice, but we need to find better solutions that don’t harm our environment.

  7. GreenThumb February 3, 2024

    Has anyone considered the impact of these measures on wildlife? Rainmaking and heavy pollution levels can drastically alter their natural habitats.

  8. CityDweller February 3, 2024

    Living in Bangkok, I can tell you it’s as bad as it sounds. Not seeing the sun because of pollution really makes you think about where we’re headed as a society.

  9. PolicyMaker February 3, 2024

    Engaging in discussions is the first step, but we need actionable policies that address the root causes of pollution. It’s a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach.

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