In a move to control PM2.5 levels in the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and related agencies held a meeting to discuss ways of solving the problem of PM 2.5
A decision has been made stop vehicles with six or more wheels will be blocked from entering Bangkok from 6am – 9pm from December 1st until the end of February to reduce traffic and pollution.
Additionally dust measurement stations in compliance with international standards will be set up in all 50 districts of the capital so people know the level of dust particles in their area.
The BMA will also be installing a dust metre in up to 20 parks in the city by November 13
Particulate Matter (PM) is a mixture of solid and liquid particles that are suspended in the air.
These are categorized into coarse, fine and ultrafine. Coarse particles have a diameter of 2.5 micrometres to 10 micrometres (about 25 to 100 times thinner than a human hair), are relatively heavier and thus tend to settle. Dust, spores and pollen are some examples. PM2.5 refers to particles that have diameter less than 2.5 micrometres (more than 100 times thinner than a human hair) and remain suspended for longer.
These particles are formed as a result of burning fuel and chemical reactions that take place in the atmosphere. Natural processes such as forest fires also contribute to PM2.5 in the air. These particles are also the primary reason for occurrence of smog.
Exposure to PM2.5 has multiple short term and long term health impacts. Short term include irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. A prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can cause permanent respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and heart disease.
While PM2.5 impacts everyone, people with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly are most sensitive to it. Due to the omnipresence of particulate matter, ambient particulate matter has proved to be a killer more potent than alcohol and diabetes.
The prescribed standard for the annual average of PM2.5 is 60ug/m3 in India, and 15ug/m3 in USA. However, 10 out of the top 20 cities with the highest PM2.5 globally, are in India.
Research shows that every 10ug/m3 increase in PM 2.5, increases all-cause mortality between 3-26%, chances of childhood asthma by 16%, chances of lung cancer by 36% and heart attacks by 44%