Coping with Air Pollution in Bangkok

17 January 2017, BKK Kids

Air pollution is a growing problem and although many steps have been taken here in Thailand such as consideration of fuel used in motor vehicles, especially public transport, it is always going to be an issue in a hot, humid, heavily populated city.

An awful lot can be done from home to prevent or mitigate any adverse effects on your family’s health, including engaging in actions that help reduce household waste, increase energy consumption and minimalise carbon footprints.

First things first, research, research, research! Getting a good idea of the background of air pollution or smog in Bangkok is the first step to finding ways to live (and breathe) without worrying.

Some great resources about levels of air pollution, what they mean, government activity to resolve the problem and what can be done from home can be found online:

  • World Health Organisation: This is very factual, non-scare mongering, with information that outlines the global issues, and as well as action in place to find resolutions.

Closer to home, online information is available at:

  • The Pollution Control Department has a wealth of information about pollution levels each day, although the general information about projects and management has not been updated for some time.
  • The real time Air Quality Index of Bangkok offers a quick check of the daily air conditions.

There are also some wonderful blogs and personal sites out there that hold fantastic information, games and interactive activities to help everyone learn more about the impacts we have on pollution levels, what other effects exist and how we can all do more:

Here are some top tips taken from experience and research that have made outdoor living much easier and have removed some of the worry about air quality in Bangkok.

  1. Check the daily reports available online about air quality when planning an outing to town. The more information you have, the better equipped you are.
  2. If levels are high, stay indoors. There’s enough to do in BKK to sink a ship, and a lot of these are indoor activities.
  3. Educate the family. Get everyone on board about what the issues are air pollution, why it’s an important part of day to day life here and what can be done.
  4. Do activities with the whole family such as recycling, learning about energy awareness, teaching and show kids what can be done together. Make it a project.
  5. Keep an eye on the family’s health. If you think little ones, or big ones for that matter, are suffering from chest infections, regular cough and cold or you notice any breathing problems, related or unrelated to the smog, take them to the doctors.
  6. Stay fit and healthy. Eating a balanced diet will aid the immune systems. This will ensure the very best for your family’s health and well-being generally, but particularly in relation to their lungs and breathing.
  7. Get out of the city when you can. There are so many places within 2 hours drive of Bangkok where the air is clearer and cleaner. Head to the coast in Chonburi, or to the National Parks such as Khao Yai. Closer to home there’s ‘The Green Lung’ at the end of BangNa Trat, across the river from Klong Toey.
  8. Use the parks and green spaces around the city. The weather plays a huge part in pollution levels but in the cooler season make the most of such public spaces.
  9. Some house plants, such as snake plants, golden pothos, aloe vera and Chinese evergreen, are known for their superior air cleaning qualities. These are easily found in Bangkok and will help bring fresh air to your personal living spaces.
  10. Get an air purifier to run inside your home. Popular models include those with a HEPA filter which can filter small airborne particles in the air such as bacteria, pet dander, dust, pollen, and debris from dust mites.

Finally, try not to worry. Making yourself accessible to new info that is constantly coming available as well as common sense will help to ensure that you all remain safe and well.

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