Thailand has decided to implement a new PM2.5 standard level, reduced from 50 microns (microgram/cubic metre) to 37.5 microns, and a new air quality index (AQI) standard, reduced from 91 to 75.1, from June 1st, to bring them in line with the World Health Organisation’s standards, according to Jatuporn Buruspat, permanent secretary of natural resources and environment.
Under the new standard, the AQI will be divided into five levels, each colour coded.
-The AQI 0-25 (Blue) level means that the air quality is very good, suitable for all out-door and tourism activities.
-The AQI 26-50 (Green) level means air quality is good enough for people to undertake general activities as normal.
-The AQI 51-100 (Yellow) level means moderate air quality, in which healthy people can perform out-door activities as normal. Those who have to take special care for their health, however, should reduce out-door activity if they develop a cough or experience breathing difficulties.
-The AQI 101-200 (Orange) level means that air quality is starting to affect people in general. With a cough, breathing difficulties or eye irritation, people should reduce out-door activity or wear face masks and anyone experiencing chest pain, headache, fatigue, nausea or irregular heartbeat should see a doctor.
-An AQI of more than 200 (Red) means that air quality has become so bad that people should avoid out-door activities, wear face masks and see a doctor if they feel ill.
Jatuporn said that the ministry has asked all state agencies to be prepared to address the PM2.5 problem in line with the new standard, while the Department of Pollution Control and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation should inform and educate the general public about the changes.