Air pollution problems in Thailand

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Gaybutton
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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Gaybutton » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:16 pm

Chiang Mai choking on Day 1 of burning ban

March 01, 2019

By The Nation

Air pollution remained above the safety limit in Chiang Mai on Friday, the first day of a 50-day ban on all burning.

In neighbouring Mae Hong Son, the level of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – was 93 micrograms per cubic metre of air – nearly double the safe limit of 50mcg.

The Pollution Control Department said PM2.5 levels ranged from 35 to 93mcg across the upper North at 9am on Friday.

The worst pollution earned the tambon of Jong Kham in Muang Mae Hong Son “code red status” with 93mcg of PM2.5 and an Air Quality Index level of 102.

Mae Hong Son, where numerous forest fires are raging, has also implemented a ban on outdoor burning that will be in effect through April.

PM2.5 haze was thick in Phra Baht in Muang Lampang at 67mcg, Mae Mo in Lampang at 64, Chang Pheuk (64) and Sri Phum (63) in Muang Chiang Mai, Na Chak in Muang Phrae at 59 and Mae Pa in Tak’s Mae Sot district, also at 59.

Chiang Mai has banned outdoor burning until April 20, having hit an AQI of 193 on Thursday according to airversual.com.

Regional Health Promotion Centre 1 in the tambon of Chang Klan remained closed on Friday because of the haze.

A campfire lit by people gathering items in the woods is believed to have triggered a forest fire on Thursday afternoon in Ban Huai Tak (Moo 3) in Lampang’s Ngao district.

It was extinguished within in an hour, but not before burning off four rai of trees and shrub, said Huai Tak forest-fire control unit chief Pairoj Ajiriya.

Story and photos: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30365019

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by fountainhall » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:11 pm

Having spent the last 5 days in the glorious clear air of the Vietnamese Island of Phu Quoc - and a fine white sandy beach and clear water of the sort that Thailand no longer can boast - as my flight approached BKK this afternoon, the amount of pollution blanketing the city seemed hideous.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Jun » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:58 am

Leaving Bangkok yesterday, it was also noticeable how bad the pollution was.

What I don't see is any political will to do anything serious about it. Admittedly, my sources are limited to reading the Bangkok Post and The Nation, but these are mostly written by Thai nationals and should reflect the key political issues.

I might also have missed a few things whilst traveling in other SE Asian countries, but the only firm idea I have seen is to adopt Euro 6 low sulphur diesel, which might help particulates slightly. It won't fix the problem.

Maybe the generals prefer to poison themselves and everyone else in the city.

A proper set of measures to fix the problem might include:

1 A proper ban on crop burning. With fines and enforcement.
2 A road pricing scheme for Bangkok. The first such scheme was introduced in SE Asia in 1998 (Singapore, obviously). Charge higher polluting vehicles more and have exemption for fully electric vehicles. Charge more for road use during busy periods, when parts of Bangkok have virtual gridlock.
3 Increase the tax on diesel
4 Reduce the tax incentives for pickups, which are an inefficient means of transport. Heavy and dreadful aerodynamics than a brick
5 Start closing roads and lanes. In many parts of Bangkok, there are 3 or 4 lanes in each direction, yet all the pedestrians are crammed onto a narrow pavement about half the width of a car lane.
6 Increase the purchase tax on higher polluting vehicles.
7 Initiate a few research projects into the sources of the pollution
8 NO NEW ROADS (exceptions for localized junction improvement)
9 Ban or tax the worst vehicles off the road

A Increase number of carriages and frequency on public transport
B Make it easy to use, with one swipe card for all forms of public transport
C Make it easy to use with better interconnection between lines. Some of the interconnections are designed by complete idiots, with major detours instead of the shortest route from one station to the next.
D Improve pavements to and from stations
E Add more cycle lanes and promote electrically assisted bicycles

Of course, none of this will happen, as in most developing countries the leaders prefer to poison themselves and the population, rather than fix the problem. This is inexplicable, as most of the leaders have probably made enough money that they should be comfortable and even if they are very selfish individuals who don't care about public health, not poisoning themselves and their children should surely be a consideration.

Developed countries, on the other hand lead the way with fuel taxation, road pricing, more severe emissions legislation, promoting electric vehicles, promoting public transport and future bans on IC vehicles in city centres.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:47 am

Jun wrote:Increase number of carriages and frequency on public transport
And get new city buses. Some of them look as if they've been in use since 1925.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by fountainhall » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:09 am

Jun wrote:1 A proper ban on crop burning. With fines and enforcement . . . Of course, none of this will happen,
I agree with all your points as I do with your conclusion that nothing will happen.

I highlighted the crop burning issue if only because it is not only Thailand that can cut the haze/pollution this creates. Effective banning of crop burning and effective enforcement here will certainly help. But as long as our neighbouring countries continue the habit, its effect will inevitably waft over Thailand. Singapore has no area for growing crops. Yet crop burning in Indonesia creates massive haze problems in Singapore and lower Malaysia. This from a Guardian news item in 2015 -
Malaysia ordered school closures in Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring states as worsening haze from Indonesian forest and agricultural fires enveloped the capital in a shroud of smoke . . .

Air quality in Malaysia and Singapore has steadily deteriorated over the past two weeks due to the smog from nearby regions of Indonesia, which on Monday declared a state of emergency in a particularly hard-hit province . . .

Smoke from fires is an annual problem during the dry season in Indonesia, where vast tracts of land are cleared on the huge islands of Sumatra and Borneo using illegal slash-and-burn methods used to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/ ... n-in-smoke

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Jun » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:11 pm

fountainhall wrote:
Jun wrote:Yet crop burning in Indonesia creates massive haze problems in Singapore and lower Malaysia. This from a Guardian news item in 2015
Correct, however I expect Bangkok is far enough away to not suffer from crop burning in Indonesia & I believe it's the wet season down there anyway, so guess Indonesia isn't burning crops right now.

Most of the crop burning pollution in Thailand will be from crop burning in Thailand and in any case, they can hardly ask neighbouring countries to stop burning before stopping it in Thailand.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by deanagam » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:25 pm

This time of the year, if you look at the meteorological wind directions, atmospheric pollutions (including particulates from open burning) will be carried west from Vietnam and Cambodia to Thailand. Farmers everywhere in these countries are burning their fields for the next planting and are in concert with the industries and the millions of vehicles to contribute to the sad sights of a veiled orange and red sunsets.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by fountainhall » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:30 pm

Jun wrote:I expect Bangkok is far enough away to not suffer from crop burning in Indonesia & I believe it's the wet season down there anyway, so guess Indonesia isn't burning crops right now.

Most of the crop burning pollution in Thailand will be from crop burning in Thailand and in any case, they can hardly ask neighbouring countries to stop burning before stopping it in Thailand.
Just for clarification, I did not mean to suggest that crop burning in indonesia would affect Bangkok. The Indonesia example was merely to indicate that other countries also suffer severe haze from activity in neighbouring countries. As deanagam points out, Thailand's pollution is a combination of its own activity plus that of winds blowing it across borders.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Jun » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:02 pm

Thailand's pollution may be a combination of domestic and foreign pollution, however:

A pollution problem in Bangkok that isn't occurring in surrounding Thai provinces either means the pollution is being mainly generated in Bangkok or they are not measuring it in surrounding provinces. Whilst the data isn't exactly perfect, Bangkok appears to be worse than surrounding provinces AND there is substantial variation within Bangkok.

This suggests local pollution is a major contributor.

This is no surprise, since we see 6 or 8 lane highways, with another 6 lanes or so running directly above. Full of diesel vehicles in various conditions. This is ludicrous. Somewhere like London generates much higher GDP and has much more of a bias towards public transport ahead of cars.

Furthermore, if we go south of Bangkok, it is quite some distance to the next country. Same going north. West we have Burma, but only a thin sliver of it and to the East, it is some distance to the nearest country.

I would suggest Bangkok is largely responsible for its own pollution. If Thailand took all appropriate countermeasures, I suspect the local air quality in Bangkok would be very good.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Thailand

Post by Gaybutton » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:36 am

Jun wrote:If Thailand took all appropriate countermeasures, I suspect the local air quality in Bangkok would be very good.
Emphasis on "appropriate."

If anyone wakes up from that dream, let me know . . .

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