Bangkok to Have Itself a Smoggy Little Christmas?

A sight of Bangkok buildings covered in smog on Friday morning

BANGKOK — You better not run; you better not hike; you better not breathe, we’re telling you why – nasty smog has come to town.

It’s time to break out the masks again as heavy smog has returned to the capital just before the long Christmas and New Year’s holidays begin.

As of 10am Friday, Bangkok’s air pollution rose to 184 on an independent international index, a level considered “ unhealthy.” The high levels of ultrafine particles mean active children and adults and people with respiratory diseases are advised to avoid exerting themselves outdoors.

Read: Bangkok’s Air More Toxic Than You Think: Greenpeace

The Pollution Control Department said Thursday that 14 parts in the country exceed acceptable standards in terms of particulate pollution. Affected areas in metro Bangkok include Bang Khun Thian (around Kanchanapisek Road), Bang Na, Din Daeng and Bang Kapi’s Khong Chan.

Outside Bangkok, the air is especially bad in Nakhon Pathom city, Samut Prakan city and Samut Prakan’s Phra Pradaeng district.

While the international monitoring measures the finest – and most dangerous – type of air pollution, the government pollution department still does not. Called PM2.5, these are measuring under 2.5 micrometers that can only be seen with an electron microscope. They can cause great harm to the respiratory system and lead to strokes as well as lung and heart disease.

Larger particles, anything over 10 micrometers, are known as PM10.

The pollution department, which is part of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, plans to assess micro particulate pollution nationwide within another two years.

Episodes of heavy smog have plagued the capital city since the beginning of the year. In February, it reached severe levels considered “very unhealthy.”

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