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30 Sep 2019

Thai Economy

Toxic dust particles are back in Greater Bangkok: Opportunity cost from health-related issues is estimated at THB700-800 million during the 1 -2 week period (Current Issue No.3036)

            Toxic smog is back as dust particles exceeding the so-called safe level have blanketed Bangkok and its perimeter. It is a result of stagnate weather. Nonetheless, the recurrence of hazardous smog in the capital this time prompts more concerns as it seems to be more severe than the haze early this year. It shows that the amount of dust particles in Greater Bangkok remains at a high level and has not reduced from the level registered early this year.

              According to the air quality index of AQICN.ORG, it is found that the ultra-fine dust particles[1] beyond the safe level have clouded the Bangkok Metropolitan Region since September 24, 2019. The dust value exceeded the standard value in some areas, reaching over 100 micrograms/cubic meter at certain times during the day.  On September 30, 2019, the dust value in some locations hit 202 micrograms/cubic meter at a certain period during the day.

                 KResearch estimates the short-term impact from the dust pollution includes the health effect on people with allergies and respiratory problems.  Some people without a history of an allergy may be ill as well, and they may have to seek medical advice or treatment. Also, some consumers have to buy dust masks to prevent dust exposure and purchase other health-related products to take care of their health. KResearch has estimated the preliminary opportunity cost associated with health treatment and prevention (within the period of 1-2 weeks from September 28-October 12, 2019) will be approximately 700-800 million Baht based on an assumption that the air quality, per AQICN.ORG measurements, in October will not increase to a hazardous level. Nonetheless, the harmful particulate matter may come back again in December to early next year.

               For the impact on the tourism industry, KResearch views that the recent smog should not adversely affect the tourism sector. Most international tourists who visit Greater Bangkok tend to make their travel plans in advance. Nonetheless, they may adjust their sightseeing schedule during the day to avoid the smog.

              ​Finally, the above-said numbers are based on preliminary estimates on the impact from dust situation on the overall economy during the two week period.   KResearch will closely monitor the situation and assess the impact from the air pollution later.



[1] Smaller particles than 2.5 microns (P.M. 2.5) exceed the standard level (50 micrograms/cubic meter), causing harmful effect on human health. (Source: Pollution Control Department).