Air pollution problems in Thailand

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fountainhall
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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:43 am

In 18 years of living in Bangkok, I have never known the haze/pollution to be so bad. But then, I have never known a winter to be so hot and devoid of the cooling periods when the winter monsoon blows in and lowers temperatures for a few days at a time.

When Beijing has temperatures drop below zero, cooler weather will normally blow down to Thailand after 2 or 3 days. Beijing's long-range forecast for the next two weeks is for sunny weather and temperatures well above zero celsius. I doubt if Lazada will have those face masks in stock for long.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:44 am

fountainhall wrote:I have never known the haze/pollution to be so bad.
I guess this is a foolish question, but how do so many of the exhaust polluting vehicles pass annual inspection? And why aren't exhaust belching tour bus companies fined for failing to properly maintain their buses?

Pattaya has been hazy lately too, but so far nothing like Bangkok. I don't know whether the source of Pattaya's haze is air pollution, weather, or a combination of the two.

I wouldn't be surprised if before long people will be walking around with gas masks, like ready for a WWI mustard gas attack.

At least it's not all bad - pulmonary specialists are going to make a fortune . . .

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Moses » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:06 pm

3M N95 brand mask should work. You can find them in DIY-shops and also 3M has office in Bangkok
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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Undaunted » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:40 pm

I think the smog is an attempt to make the Chinese tourists feel more at home.
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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:54 pm

Gaybutton wrote:Pattaya has been hazy lately too, but so far nothing like Bangkok.
I think it's important not to overplay the pollution situation. In parts of Bangkok it is certainly bad. But I took this photo just a few moments ago. I don't consider this bad at all.

Image

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Jun » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:30 pm

Pattaya is a lot smaller than Bangkok & the effect of the sea probably causes more breeze as well.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Dodger » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:14 pm

Gaybutton wrote:I guess this is a foolish question, but how do so many of the exhaust polluting vehicles pass annual inspection? And why aren't exhaust belching tour bus companies fined for failing to properly maintain their buses?
I've been asking myself the same question for years.

I have no idea how so many of the vehicles pass emission tests which are mandatory each year at tax time. The buses are among the worst and there must be a payoff in this somewhere down the line. Nothing else could explain this.

I have a friend in the U.S. who was involved in setting up Ford Motor Company Thailand tell me in very straight terms that "Thai People Don't Change Oil", thus the reason you see so many newer model cars, trucks and buses spewing black smoke from the exhaust which is something you would only expect to see coming from an old jalopy. They simply wait for the vehicle to stop running before changing the oil and by that time the piston rings are toast and the unspent carbon monoxide fumes are just released in the environment.

I purchased a Ford Ranger last year (made in Thailand) and my friend advised that when it came time for an oil change I should only use a high quality American made motor oil such as Castrol, Mobile, Shell, etc. which I did. Not only do the Thais never change the oil - they also use the cheapest crap on the market which breaks down quickly...then of course they drive it for another million kms. I know that pollution coming from the thousands of factories in Bangkok is a major source of the pollution - but unspent carbon monoxide coming from road vehicles has to also be a key contributor.

There are reportedly 7 million registered vehicles in Bangkok and the road networks were only designed for 1.4 million vehicles. In per capita terms, there are twice as many cars per person in Bangkok as there are in Tokyo and Seoul and seven times Shanghai. I've driven vehicles in both Tokyo and Seoul and the traffic is terrible but there isn't anywhere near the pollution you see in Bangkok.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:28 pm

Dodger wrote:there must be a payoff in this somewhere down the line. Nothing else could explain this.
That is also my belief. Nothing else makes any sense to me, although since when does anything have to make sense in Thailand?

But if so many culprit vehicles are on the road, and the police never seem to do a thing about them, then who is inspecting the inspectors? My guess is either nobody or someone - for some reason - is looking the other way. And that makes about zero sense too, even if payoffs really are involved. They have to breathe the same air everybody else does - and so does their families.

When I first came to Thailand I thought so many police officers wearing surgical masks were doing so to try to appear intimidating. Now I think they wear them to try surviving the day without ending up with black lung disease or something. Why don't they stop and fine offending vehicles that obviously had no way of legitimately passing inspection?

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:58 pm

Dodger wrote:There are reportedly 7 million registered vehicles in Bangkok and the road networks were only designed for 1.4 million vehicles. In per capita terms, there are twice as many cars per person in Bangkok as there are in Tokyo and Seoul and seven times Shanghai. I've driven vehicles in both Tokyo and Seoul and the traffic is terrible but there isn't anywhere near the pollution you see in Bangkok.
It was the Yingluck government that put an additional 1 million plus new cars on the road through subsidies of up to Bt. 100,000 per car in one of her monstrously expensive election give-aways.(Remember all the one-tablet-per-child disasters?) Most found their way into Bangkok. And still hardly a kilometre of new roads.

Thinking of Dodger's comments on Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul, I realise he is absolutely correct. I lived in Tokyo for two years where traffic was often nose-to-tail. Yet the pollution was much less in evidence. One reason is no doubt the mandatory inspections imposed in Japan on used cars. Each car must be inspected every three years - and that means every single part of the car. These inspections are expensive and get much more expensive the older the car. By year 6 most drivers just sell their old cars and buy new ones. Since mileage on those old cars is usually very low and they are in good condition, they are exported to less economically advanced countries.

Then the land area of Tokyo is vastly larger than Bangkok - so its having half the number of Bangkok's cars can easily give the wrong impression. Another way Tokyo restricts car ownership is that owners must have car park spaces at both home and work. I could not drive there because although my apartment had its own car park space, I did not have one at my office.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Jun » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:05 pm

Dodger wrote:I have a friend in the U.S. who was involved in setting up Ford Motor Company Thailand tell me in very straight terms that "Thai People Don't Change Oil", thus the reason you see so many newer model cars, trucks and buses spewing black smoke from the exhaust which is something you would only expect to see coming from an old jalopy. They simply wait for the vehicle to stop running before changing the oil and by that time the piston rings are toast and the unspent carbon monoxide fumes are just released in the environment.
Not changing engine oil is extreme stupidity and a false economy. Back home, I change my own oil just to make sure it is done AND synthetic oil is used. I also change coolant when due, as it's way better than having corrosion & head gasket failure.

Of course, not having oil changes probably explains all the dodgy engine rebuild businesses seen in Thailand. Even worse cowboys in Cambodia.

However, the most badly polluting vehicles I have so far encountered were in the Philippines.

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