Air pollution problems in Thailand

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#41 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:55 am

Dodger wrote:The Thai owned/operated tour bus companies are the only ones I can really see who are making money even at the discounted rates being offered to the Chinese.
I agree with your post, but you left out a couple things about who is making money - restaurants and hotels. The Chinese tourists are always brought to the same hotels and are always taken to the same restaurants. Often also the so-called spas.

I believe if these venues are Thai owned, then they're paying kickbacks to have the buses bring the tourists and the restaurants are probably serving cheap crap. Several years ago a friend and I spotted a Chinese restaurant on Pattaya Tai that we wanted to try. When we went we were refused service and turned away. They told us they only serve Chinese tour groups.

Of course, these venues, or at least some of them, might be Chinese owned. Obviously they are in cahoots with the tour buses, possibly own the tour bus companies as well as the venues.

Just up the street from me, at the top of a hill, a few years ago construction began. At first I thought it was going to be a condo, but it didn't take long before I saw signs pointing out it was going to be a hotel. At the time I didn't understand. I was wondering why they would build a hotel here, miles away from even the closest tourist attractions and hardly anywhere for tourists to go. I thought who would want to stay here?

The answer became apparent as soon as the hotel opened. Every evening Chinese tour buses, usually 4 to 7 of them, are brought there. Occasionally Russian tour buses too. By early morning they're gone. It is perfectly obvious the hotel was built for this express purpose.

Little is ever done in Thailand without somebody making money - often a lot of it. I don't know whether that's good or bad or just who is making that money, but that's how things seem to work here.

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#42 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:02 am

These super cheap "zero dollar" tours were once warmly welcomed. Much less so now. For the last 15 months the government has been cracking down on these tours precisely because they don't get much benefit from them. Obviously it has not proved very effective so far, but the number of independent Chinese tourists is considerably on the rise. The concern will be: will the Thai businesses who obviously make a ton of cash from these tours take the government's crackdown to heart? Probably not!
Once welcomed because they brought more tourists into the country at a time when the economic outlook was bleak, the Thai government had a change of heart a little over a year ago and announced a crackdown on operators, saying they harmed the country’s image . . .

The Thai authorities launched a crackdown in October 2016, when three large zero-dollar tour companies were busted, resulting in 2,150 tour buses being impounded and 29 operators prosecuted during a Chinese “golden week” holiday . . .

Although zero-dollar tours are still bringing visitors into the kingdom, there are signs Chinese tourists increasingly dislike them. Six out of 10 Chinese tourists to Thailand are classified as “free, independent travellers” (FITs), who avoid large tour groups and book flights, hotel reservations and local tours using smartphone apps. That figure is expected to rise to 70 per cent in the near future.
https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-l ... ckdown-and

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#43 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:22 am

fountainhall wrote:Obviously it has not proved very effective so far, but the number of independent Chinese tourists is considerably on the rise.
"Damned clever, these Chinese."
- O.P. Heggie (Howard Joyce), 'The Letter' 1929

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#44 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Dodger » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:43 pm

There is a new ocean-front hotel/resort in Bang Saray which opened up last June. It can't be spotted from the promenade and can only be reached by a small dirt soi which has been carved through the jungle. Anxious to see if this was possibly a new restaurant I traveled the soi on my motorbike only to find a resort with its signage written totally in Chinese with two monster tour buses parked behind it.

Earlier in this post I mentioned a tour bus stopping in Bang Saray at a hotel/resort I thought was closed. This afternoon a friend in my building informed me that the resort was in fact closed for years but was recently purchased by a Chinese businesswomen. The parking lot behind it was expanded to fit the buses, although the soi is too small for buses to make any turns and the electric lines are not high enough. Oh well, the plan must have looked good to somebody on paper.

These types of business investments/arrangements are happening all up-and-down the coastline which I believe the Thais are concerned about. Again, all the money is making its way back to China and in the mean time Thai resources which are already imploding are being further strained and there not making money on it. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the tour bus company's must be owned by the small percentage of elites who aren't held accountable for trivial things like the environment.

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#45 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:31 am

REPORT: Let’s nail down SMOG CAUSES

by Pratch Rujivanarom

January 19, 2019

THERE ARE MULTIPLE SOURCES OF BANGKOK’S ANNUAL STRANGULATION, EXPERTS POINT OUT, AND WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW EACH ONE CONTRIBUTES

The smog that’s been gagging Bangkok is a combination of multiple elements and understanding each one is crucial to finding a long-term solution, say experts.

The capital has been blanketed much of the time in a dense smog of fine dust particles known as PM2.5 since the New Year began, posing a threat to public health as well as to city tourism and the economy.

Chulalongkorn University and Greenpeace have cited as the main causes vehicle exhaust, emissions from small-scale power plants and factories, open burning and climate factors.

They stressed that a full understanding of each pollution source and its relation to the overall situation is essential in devising long-term mitigation measures and ending the annual winter cycle of chronic air pollution.

Assoc Professor Sirima Panyametheekul, a lecturer in environmental engineering at Chulalongkorn, said that, even though Bangkok’s pollution comes from diverse sources and no academic study had yet clearly defined them or their relative ratio, there was no doubt that heavy traffic was the main contributor.

Sirima pointed out the air quality improved dramatically during the long New Year holiday, when many residents left the city to travel upcountry. As soon as vehicles were again jamming city streets after the holiday, the smog returned.

However, she said, the main reason the air quality worsened to a critical level each winter was the weather.

“The number of cars on the roads is basically unchanged throughout the year, while the air pollution peaks every January and February. So it can be concluded that calm winds at this time of year help the air pollution accumulate to a very harmful level,” she explained.

A boom in the construction of small-scale biomass power plants and waste-to-energy plants across the Central region and the East was another prominent factor, said Kulyos Audomvongseree, director of Chulalongkorn’s Energy Research Institute.

“Many people suspect large coal-fired and gas-fired power plants to be the main polluters behind the problem in Bangkok, but my studies indicate otherwise. These large power plants are normally equipped with efficient pollutant-trapping systems, so they emit only relatively small amounts of PM2.5,” Kulyos said.

He said the small plants burning solid waste and biomass were actually emitting larger proportions of PM2.5 because they were too small to justify a costly investment in hi-tech pollution filters. Meanwhile the government is promoting development in East and Central Thailand and environmental regulations were weaker for smaller plants, he said.

The Chulalongkorn academics stressed that further studies were needed to clearly identify the sources of Bangkok’s air pollution, saying the most effective way to control pollution was to tackle the problem at its sources.

Assoc Professor Manoj Lohatepanont, director of Chulalongkorn’s Transportation Institute, said that, since the climate cannot be controlled, long-term pollution-mitigation strategies involving every stakeholder were required.

Manoj suggested that Bangkok authorities create more green areas and encourage walking and bicycling.

“We should make our city friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and increase the quality and coverage of our mass-transit system, because walking and biking are the most environmentally friendly ways to get around the city,” he said.

“This transition needs a long-term strategy and a strong commitment from the authorities. Lowering the traffic volume would improve the air quality.”

Greenpeace Thailand country director Tara Buakamsri said some of the polution afflicting Bangkok was being carried on the wind from Cambodia, so its smog problem was in part an issue of transboundary haze.

“Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites have detected a very dense cluster of hotspots from open burning in the north and northeast of Cambodia in recent weeks, and easterly winds carry the smoke straight towards Thailand,” Tara said.

“The large-scale burning in the northern Cambodia is closely associated with the very high deforestation rate and rapid expansion of monoculture farming in that region in recent years.”

Thailand is this year chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Tara noted, so it has the opportunity to raise the issue and encourage fellow member-states, including Cambodia, to work together on resolving the issue of transboundary pollution.

“Asean doesn’t typically consider environmental issues a top priority, but the region is now facing more intense extreme weather and natural disasters, so now is the time for us to take environmental problems seriously,” he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30362525

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#46 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Dodger » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:35 am

The Nation wrote:Chulalongkorn University and Greenpeace have cited as the main causes vehicle exhaust, emissions from small-scale power plants and factories, open burning and climate factors.
Congratulations is in order for Chulalongkorn University and Greenpeace for telling everyone what they think is causing the problems when a 7 year old could have figured this out.

What's missing from the remarks made by the University and Greenpeace is the part where they explain what they plan to do to address the problem.

If vehicle emissions is one of the main causes then why are they dodging the issue instead of coming up with a mitigation plan that includes stopping the Vehicle Inspection Stations from passing vehicles which should fail due to emissions, stopping drivers from operating motor vehicles which emit black smoke from the exhaust by issuing large fines (another no-brainier for a 7 year old), and banning tour buses which emit black smoke from operation.

The fact that none of these obvious actions have been implemented is actually the "Root Cause" of the pollution problem the way I see it. Nobody wants to ruffle the feathers of the guy above him who sold him his job...plain and simple. Until they address this long-standing culturally embedded practice nothing will change. Attempting to de-focus from the root cause of the problems by blaming Cambodia for the smoke is just laughable.

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#47 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:55 am

Dodger wrote:The fact that none of these obvious actions have been implemented is actually the "Root Cause" of the pollution problem the way I see it.
That is also the way I see it. I would have thought any fool could see that trying to deal with only the symptoms without effectively dealing with the cause is a useless exercise in futility. Even if that actually works, and I doubt that it will, it will only be temporary.

Don't the authorities in positions to take effective action have to breathe the same air everybody else has to breathe? Is lining pockets with money that important? You can believe the people in those positions already have plenty of money. I guess no matter how much they have, it's never enough.

Want to stop these pollution problems? Put a stop to what is causing the problems in the first place.

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#48 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Jun » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:29 am

Improving pollution could include items like legislation to remove vehicles with bad emissions, taxes on fuel to discourage excess vehicle use, taxes for driving vehicles in Bangkok and restrictions on burning things.

People tend not to like such measures and an election is coming up.

So far I have seen zero discussion or reporting on such matters in the English language Thai papers.

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#49 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:40 pm

Bangkok air hits ‘code red’ while authorities resist strong measures

January 22, 2019

By The Nation

The capital’s air pollution situation became more severe on Tuesday, as the quantity of the dangerous PM2.5 particles for the first time rose to code-red status of above 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air at many locations. If the level remains that high for three consecutive days, drastic measures may be implemented, perhaps including a ban on car use by two million civil servants.

Nearly 10 Bangkok areas were at 7.15am on Tuesday flagged “code red”, which is triggered when inhalable particles with diameters generally sized at or below 2.5 micrometres reach 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Another more than 30 areas were designated with the “code-orange” status, which notes that negative health affects are beginning, said a report by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s Environment Office's Air Quality Division.

The safe limit of PM2.5 in Thailand is considered under 50 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, whereas the World Health Organisation pegs it at 25 micrograms.

The red-coded areas included the Thanon Tok Intersection in Bang Kho Laem district with the city’s highest level at 101 micrograms; the roadside area in front of Siam University in Phasi Charoen district with 100 micrograms; the Mahaisawan Intersection in Thon Buri district with 95 micograms; the roadside area in Bang Khun Thien district with 95 micrograms; the roadside area near Bang Phlat District Office with 94 micrograms; and Sanam Luang in Phra Nakhon district with 96 micrograms.

The BMA report, available on bangkokairquality.com, provides the capital city’s readings for PM10 and PM2.5 levels over the previous 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Pollution Control Department (PCD) said in its daily update on the PM2.5 situation that 40 areas of Greater Bangkok had on Tuesday morning reported levels of PM2.5 above what is considered safe. Seven roadside locales (each equipped with an air quality-measuring station) were flagged with the code-red status, the PCD said, while attributing it to the lack of rain and absence of strong winds (with winds being under 2 kilometres per hour). The PCD predicted that Wednesday would have better weather with stronger winds, thus possibly lessening the level of PM2.5, although it would remain at “starting to affect health” levels.

The related state agencies are so far standing firm following their conclusion at a Monday meeting that, as PCD director-general Pralong Damrongthai later told reporters, “the smog is still not critical enough to declare the capital a pollution-control area, which might affect tourism and the business sector.”

The agencies were instead recommending other pollution-tackling measures to the Prime Minister including an increase in mobile units to detect vehicles with black exhaust smoke in the inner city; checking the condition of city buses; and intensifying rain-making operations later this week, Pralong told reporters.

If the level of PM2.5 rose beyond 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air for three consecutive days, more intense controls on road traffic and construction sites would be imposed, Pralong said.

Those controls could include a measure to reduce a number of cars on road, beginning with a request to civil servants and state personnel to avoid using their personal cars.

If more intensive measures failed to curb pollution, a controlled area announcement under the Public Health Act may be issued by the Bangkok governor, Pralong said on Monday.

More drastic measures are available and could be triggered, such as declaring the capital a “pollution control area” under Article 9 of the Promotion and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act. But Pralong said that would be a last resort, as it would yield negative impacts.

Despite the gradualist approach being taken, Pralong insisted that the highest priority of state agencies continued to be the people’s health.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30362710

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#50 Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Dodger » Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:45 pm

Still missing the boat.

Only dealing with the "effects" and not the "cause(s)"

Solution lost in the smog.

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