Breath…Breath In The Air!

So much publicity in recent days surrounding the ‘toxicity’ levels of the air we breathe, particularly in Bangkok. You can certainly view the smog, in some cases sense its smell. I wonder if adding an aromatic ingredient to the rainmaker aircraft’s cargo would appeal? One of my lady friends suggested adding a skin tonic to aid protection. I’m unsure what her priorities are, but there may be a market emerging here! He’s dead but in such lovely condition.

But the recorded levels, at a staggering PM2.5 in some districts, cannot be ignored. The significance is that particles at this measurement are small, light, and carried longer in the air. Be warned, especially if you are older, or young, have respiratory or cardiac issues or are pregnant.

The proliferation of mask hawkers is hardly surprising. One observation we have probably all made in this country, if it’s made for selling, it will be market targeted…what you’re buying is another matter. I appreciate the entrepreneurial habits of our hosts, and also the ‘international mask standard’ claimed by many. I’ve seen them for sale for 20 baht, all the way up to 1800 baht. No doubt there is a value for money perspective, but also the scale of the economy if you want to supply your family or work colleagues. There was a free mask give away on 17th January courtesy of and thanks to, Tesco Lotus. Other agencies have also offered free protection, and these are commended.

I am not going to get too involved in the solutions involved, other than to say it needs to be researched further, that cause and effects are aggressively addressed, and continuous monitoring is a must. Pollution from traffic might be a suggested start point, with over 95 million bahts worth of fuel wasted each day in traffic jams! Yes, I was quite shocked to read that figure…

Interesting to read reports on the economic damage the capital city is experiencing, tourists changing plans and many moving away from potential danger areas. Also, patient numbers with respiratory disease have increased. Both these effects are damaging to an already fragile economy.

A few ill-advised precautions to protect yourself.

  1. Stop breathing in, or at least inspire less. Dead, easy!
  2. Turn the mask you purchased inside out. No reason, it just looks different, and our Thai hosts do like to be different. It would be more effective if it was airtight, but the dangers would be different of course.
  3. Move up-wind? But where’s the wind when you need it?
  4. Stay indoors. Yeah, right. Impossible to function whether working or travelling.

Some form of divine intervention might be considered. Plenty of mythological players in the wind and air stakes. If by design wind is just moving air, then Odin might be your man…or am I not allowed to use that pronoun anymore?

Seriously though, in the words of Gilmour/Wright/Waters, ‘Run, rabbit run…you race towards an early grave…’.

Fair wind to you all, and enjoy your day…

Andrew Burns