Worse than Bangkok

People frequently ask: Is air quality in Yangon better or worse than Bangkok? The answer is clear.

Yangon Morning Air, March 2020
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Yangon Morning Air, March 2020

People frequently ask: Is the air quality in Yangon better or worse than Bangkok? The answer is clear.

With more than a year of historical air quality data available for Yangon now, we can safely say that for most of the time, air quality in Yangon is considerably worse than in notoriously polluted Bangkok.

Yangon’s 2019 annual average Air Quality Index (AQI) figure was about one-third worse than Bangkok’s (91 to 69, to be precise). Air quality in Yangon was worse than in Bangkok in 10 out of 12 months of the year.

AQI Monthly Averages Comp BKK YGN

During the cooler winter months, air quality in Yangon was not markedly different from Bangkok, with an AQI mostly above 100. In these months, air quality is usually at its worst throughout South East Asia.

But Yangon’s air quality remained much worse than Bangkok’s during the hot months as well as in the rainy season and hardly ever reached a “good” level.

There is clearly room for improvement in Myanmar’s commercial capital. We need to better understand the sources of air pollution in order to devise policies to reduce pollution levels: improving public transport, reducing rubbish burning within the city, reducing emissions from polluting industries.

Air pollution puts a constant strain on our lungs. This is reason for concern, especially in these times of the CoViD-19 global pandemic.


Data Sources: Air quality data for Yangon have been measured by the Yangon office of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) in Hlaing Township, Yangon. Data for Bangkok are courtesy of hbs South East Asia office, located in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area.