The “Dustbot” bot, a first for Thailand, will be officially launched on Thursday.
The “self-warning” chat bot will be linked to six pollution-sensor stations in this pilot phase before expanding to 20 such stations by year’s end. It will interact with users with set response messages and allow users to set a personal air quality index (AQI), which will alert them when the dust level rises beyond a set point.
Eleven sensor stations will be set up at hospitals in Chiang Mai for wider coverage in detecting PM10 and PM2.5 particles – respectively those with average diameters sized 10 micrometers and 2.5 micrometers.
Currently Chiang Mai has only two government air-quality stations with the capacity to detect PM2.5 dust.
Data from pollution sensors will be calculated into the AQI per a method used by the Pollution Control Department, but with an adjustment so it better matches the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. It will be updated on the website of Chiang Mai University’s Climate Change Data Centre (www.cmuccc.org), centre head Sate Sampattagul said. The information would link to Dustboy, which will inform and interact with users.
Dustboy also aims to raise public awareness about the issue and help people better prevent negative impacts from haze. It is the result of collaboration between Sate and two other university researchers – Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna’s Arthit Yawutthi and Mae Fah Luang University’s Larisara Satarak – after the chamber of commerce requested the development of a user-friendly program to monitor haze.
Sate hopes pollution sensor stations will eventually be set up throughout the North in an “open data” manner so all stakeholders get to interact with them.
Meanwhile, a community website, chiangmaiair.org, dedicated to sharing air pollution data in Northern Thailand has posted its analysis that the PM2.5 particulate amount so far this summer season was 14 per cent higher than the same period last year.
Such a significant jump has partially been blamed on weather. Last year, Chiang Mai experienced higher than usual rainfall during January, and this helped improve air quality, the website said.
It also pointed out that the outdoor burning ban, which started on March 1 (compared to February 21 last year), wasn’t very helpful as most of the highest pollution days occurred while the ban was in place.
It also promised to report back at the end of the season for a definitive 2018 versus 2017 analysis.
Published : March 28, 2018
By : Sakaorat Sirima The Nation