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Coping with Air Pollution in Bangkok

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

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

Air Pollution Information Resources

Understanding air pollution or smog (and their causes) 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.

Global online air pollution resources

  • World Health Organisation: The WHO provides an extensive library of factual, non-scare mongering information, that outlines global issues and actions being taken (or already in place) to find resolutions.

Thailand online air pollution resources

There are also some wonderful blogs and personal sites that provide 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.

Tips for living healthy when there is high air pollution

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. There are many 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. Engage the whole family. Activities that the whole family can participate in, such as recycling or learning about energy awareness together can make for a fun (and effective) project.
  5. Keep an eye on the family’s health. Pay attention to any breathing problems with your children. This includes chest infections and regular coughs or colds, but also other abnormal signs of difficult breathing. If these appear, regardless if they are pollution related, take them to the doctors.
  6. Stay fit and healthy. Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise will aid your immune system. 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 a short drive 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. Grow plants in your house. 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. (PS – we have also published a list of additional plants that help clean the air.)
  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. Increased anxiety levels will only serve to make the air pollution problem worse for you, and your family. 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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