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This year saw a big jump in public interest in not only air pollution awareness, but also interest in finding out the air quality reading in their area. There are a number of websites out there that help you with this. The main international sites are aqicn.org and airvisual.com. I have used them both, but I find AirVisual more useful. Mainly because AQICN seems to rely a lot on government monitoring stations that are not always reliably updated. Yes, AirVisual sometimes has these problems, but most of their stations are run by ordinary people and schools and these are updated hourly. AirVisual also has the advantage that they have a good app for smartphones and widgets that webmasters can put on their blogs like at the bottom of this post.

Different thresholds result in different readings even at the same time. On the right is US AQI.

There are also two websites based inside Thailand that give air pollution readings. These are air4thai.pcd.go.th and aqmthai.com. Like AirVisual, the former also has an app for your smartphone. However, I would caution you in using this source. Firstly, their threshold is different and so when AirVisual and AQICN are showing orange and red levels, Air4Thai is showing green and yellow. This is because AirVisual uses US AQI threshold and says anything above PM2.5 25?μg/m3 is dangerous. The standard in Thailand is that it is not unsafe until it is above PM2.5 50?μg/m3 (see this tweet). The second reason is that their readings are a 24-hour average, unlike AirVisual which is an hourly average. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not useful when there is a sudden change in air quality as it won’t tell you that you now need to put on a mask. AirVisual, with its hourly updates, does a better job of doing that (see this tweet).

I find this live AirVisual Earth map very useful. In the animated version, you can clearly see where the winds are coming from and what kind of air pollution they are bringing. Dark red is bad and green is good. In this screenshot, the winds in Bangkok are coming from the South and Southeast. As they are coming off the Gulf of Thailand, it does a good job of clearing any pollution in the capital. However, when the wind changes and it comes from say the North or East, then the pollution level in the capital rises. Click here for the live map.

I find this second map useful for a different reason. It is FIRMS’s fire map and it shows you all of the hotspots in the last 24 hours. As you might be aware, air pollution, particularly of the PM2.5 kind, is not all caused by traffic pollution. A fair amount comes from fires such as the practice of slash and burn. Sugar cane farmers, for example, use this quick method to clear the ground to make it ready for a new crop. Unfortunately, this greatly contributes to air pollution many miles away when the wind is blowing in that direction. Click here for the FIRM’s Fire Map.

If you have any suggestions for more useful sources for information about air pollution in Thailand and the region, please post them in the comments at the bottom of the page. Thanks.

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The following are US AQI and PM2.5 readings for various stations around Thailand from AirVisual. Click here to see more and for a map.

CENTRAL THAILAND

NORTHERN THAILAND

NORTHEASTERN THAILAND

SOUTHERN THAILAND

AirVisual also has apps: Google Play | Android | App Store.

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For more of my blogs on air pollution, click here.

15 thoughts on “Where to find real-time Air Quality readings for Thailand

  • February 19, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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    Thanks for the useful post. I live in central Thailand (south of Kamphaeng Phet province) and although AirVisual has AQI values available for the ampheu next to me, it’s said to be “modeled from satellite data”, not coming from a station.
    I really wonder how reliable these values are. Probably not much.

    Reply
    • February 19, 2019 at 1:44 pm
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      Follow @richardbarrow

      That’s correct. AirVisual relies on people like you and myself buying an AirVisual Pro device. There wasn’t any in Samut Prakan so we went ahead and bought one for our school. They are not cheap at $269 but we saw it as a way to help the community.

      Reply
  • February 19, 2019 at 1:44 pm
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    I find this very interesting and think you have done a great job

    Reply
  • February 19, 2019 at 2:06 pm
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    Most of the air visual appliances are located inside a room or on a balcony 50 m above ground. False results as well ??

    Reply
    • February 19, 2019 at 2:11 pm
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      Follow @richardbarrow

      What’s your source for that? You can’t automatically add your AirVisual device to the app. First, when you set it up, you have to decide whether it’s going to be an inside device or outside. If inside, then you can choose a nearby source to be on the second half of the screen. If you choose outside, then you only get the one source display. You can then apply to have it listed. But first you have to place it according to their strict guidelines and then take pictures of it’s environment. It then takes about two weeks for them to get back to you whether they will add it or not.

      Reply
      • February 20, 2019 at 10:22 am
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        What is your source that they are still outside placed after pictures sent?
        Not all devices are on the ground, some are on 5 m heights which influences the physical results.
        Buyers are interested in inside rooms results as well and replace after a while the locations.
        I am the best example but won′t provide my location listed in BKK. I have it inside but listed as outside.

        Just want to mention that you are a teacher but not a Physician and people should consider little bit here. No offences :). Your work is appreciated.

        Reply
        • February 20, 2019 at 10:42 am
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          Follow @richardbarrow

          Oh, so when you stated that “most of the air visual appliances are located inside a room”, you were really talking about yourself? Of course, a system such as AirVisual cannot be 100% effective as it relies on the honesty of the people with air sensors. Can I please ask you to do the right thing and delist your device as being outdoors? The Bangkok page on AirVisual is an average of all of the AirVisual devices in the city. If yours is inside then you are bringing the average down. Which means people will think Bangkok is better than it really is. Can I suggest that you keep yours inside and then use one of the other public ones as your outside source? Maybe one of the international schools as most would have set it up properly. During the height of the recent smog situation, there were some with a green reading when most were orange/red. It was obvious that their device was inside. There is an option on the app to report stations like these but I don’t know if any action was taken. Thanks.

          Reply
  • February 19, 2019 at 3:10 pm
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    Excellent awareness of the pollution problem to help all who want it as always Richard, thanks. Could you possibly recommend a store in Thailand as to where to buy an accurate AQI reading device? I’ve tried websites with my Thai g/f such as lazada, but the delivery was cancelled without our notice for some strange reason. A nearby construction site is concerning me about how high our condo’s PM2.5 level really is.

    Reply
  • February 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm
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    Follow @Thai_Watch

    It would be a great help if you were to link not only to official sites, but also to new if unofficial pages, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting the sharing of factual information on a topic of huge concern to us all.

    Just as we link to useful blogs and tweets of yours, it would be nice, occasionally, to see some reciprocation. Particularly when we are trying promote knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and not to increase numbers of followers and views.

    http://www.FB.com/PollutionWatchThailand

    Reply
  • February 22, 2019 at 10:17 am
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    Hi,

    I’m using a Laseregg in my home in Chiang Mai. I use it solely to measure the AQI around our house and it seems, on the whole, and comparing it to the PM sensor on my Xiaomi air purifier, pretty accurate. My only disappointment with the device so far is that it isn’t linked to the website IFTTT but is to Apple Homekit.

    I’m also using both the AirMatters and AirVisual apps on my phone and often find they give very different readings for the same location, but they seem to be the most reliable sources of data.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and I intend to follow this blog with interest!!

    Phil

    Ps Air Quality is so bad today you don’t even need a monitor to tell you!!

    Reply
    • February 22, 2019 at 10:24 am
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      Follow @richardbarrow

      Thanks Phil for your feedback. Sorry to hear that you are suffering from the air pollution up in Chiang Mai. But good to hear you have an air purifier and an air quality sensor. If anything it makes you more aware of the air around you.

      Reply

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