The capital of Thailand has a problem. Bangkok’s air pollution is bad—like really bad. In fact, the air quality is so poor there that many of its residents are now donning air-filtering face masks as part of their daily routine. It’s so bad that earlier this year a thick smog blanketed the city, causing city-dwellers and even their pets to suffer.
Bangkok’s air quality is so bad that . . .
Air pollution in Bangkok has several causes, including:
These factors and more have led to increased levels of PM2.5, the microscopic dust particles that are small enough to enter the bloodstream and travel to every bodily organ. While “safe” levels of PM2.5 range from 25 to 50 mcg (micrograms per cubic meter of air), Bangkok’s have reached 95 mcg or higher.
And it’s not just a problem in Bangkok, or even Thailand. It’s estimated that 92% of Asia’s population face significant risk to their health due to air pollution.
Air pollution can negatively affect human health in many ways:
While stricter enforcement of air-quality regulations is needed, Bangkok is fighting pollution in a unique way—with water. Trucks and rooftop cannons routinely spray water through the air to help clear air pollution. Drones are being used to spray a mixture of water and nonharmful chemicals to clear the air in parks and smaller areas. Even cloud-seeding planes that force rain have been employed to help clear the air.
However, these methods are only a short-term solution to a complex, difficult problem. And they do nothing to help reduce the levels of PM2.5. So the government is also looking at shutting down the most polluting factories, replacing diesel-fueled public buses and boats, updating vehicle emissions standards and placing controls on construction sites.