Influence of agricultural activities, forest fires and agro-industries on air quality in Thailand

Worradorn Phairuang , Mitsuhiko Hata , Masami Furuuchi


Received February 01, 2016,Revised February 21, 2016, Accepted February 23, 2016, Available online March 17, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 85-97

Annual and monthly-based emission inventories in northern, central and north-eastern provinces in Thailand, where agriculture and related agro-industries are very intensive, were estimated to evaluate the contribution of agricultural activity, including crop residue burning, forest fires and related agro-industries on air quality monitored in corresponding provinces. The monthly-based emission inventories of air pollutants, or, particulate matter (PM), NOx and SO2, for various agricultural crops were estimated based on information on the level of production of typical crops: rice, corn, sugarcane, cassava, soybeans and potatoes using emission factors and other parameters related to country-specific values taking into account crop type and the local residue burning period. The estimated monthly emission inventory was compared with air monitoring data obtained at monitoring stations operated by the Pollution Control Department, Thailand (PCD) for validating the estimated emission inventory. The agro-industry that has the greatest impact on the regions being evaluated, is the sugar processing industry, which uses sugarcane as a raw material and its residue as fuel for the boiler. The backward trajectory analysis of the air mass arriving at the PCD station was calculated to confirm this influence. For the provinces being evaluated which are located in the upper northern, lower northern and northeast in Thailand, agricultural activities and forest fires were shown to be closely correlated to the ambient PM concentration while their contribution to the production of gaseous pollutants is much less.

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