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According to the Ministry of Public Health, in recent times, some parts of Bangkok and other provinces have been grappling with moderate to unhealthy levels of fine dust pollution. Known as PM2.5, this type of pollution is particularly harmful to individuals with long-term health conditions who are advised to monitor air quality indices before venturing out or participating in outdoor activities.

Fine dust pollution regularly occurs during the cool season and is largely attributed to the seasonal crop burning practice. In addition, vehicle emissions significantly contribute to the density of these dust particles in the atmosphere. It’s hence of utmost importance for people to remain informed about PM2.5 levels, which is why the Ministry of Public Health vigilantly oversees these readings and proceeds with issuing public health warnings when appropriate, says Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, the Ministry’s permanent secretary.

One can turn to the Pollution Control Department’s air quality website for precise PM2.5 readings across provinces. Recently, provinces in the Northeast, notably Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani, hovers between moderate (yellow) and unhealthy (orange) PM2.5 levels. The situation isn’t too different in Bangkok, with several areas experiencing unhealthy levels of fine dust pollution, including locales such as Kanchanaphisek Road in Bang Khun Thian district, Din Daeng Road in Din Daeng, Khlong Kum in Bueng Kum, Charan Sanitwong Road in Bang Phlat, Thung Wat Don in Sathon, and Charoen Nakhon Road in Khlong San district.

For Dr Opas, the importance cannot be overstated for everyone in these regions to continually monitor PM2.5 levels using accessible sources like the Air4Thai mobile app or the Pollution Control Department’s Air4Thai website before leaving their homes or indulging in outdoor activities. Furthering these resources, the general public can also visit to get comprehensive insights on real-time air quality levels:

  • Blue (very good): Infers no health risk.
  • Green (moderate): Indicates no health risk.
  • Yellow (unhealthy): Suggests that people with respiratory disorders should avoid outdoor exercise, and children and the elderly should limit their outdoor exposure.
  • Orange (very unhealthy): People affected by respiratory tract disorders should avoid outdoor activities altogether, with children and the elderly being advised to further restrict their time spent outdoors.
  • Red (hazardous): Calls for avoiding outdoor exercise and for individuals with respiratory tract disorders to stay indoors.

While the authorities work towards managing this particulate matter menace, everyone, and especially individuals more susceptible to respiratory issues, are advised to take proactive measures towards maintaining their health in these not-so-clear times.

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