Air pollution problems in Thailand

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Gaybutton
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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:45 am

BMA to set pollution control zones

Extra measures in place for prone areas

30 January, 2019

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has declared pollution control zones across the capital and its vicinity, in an effort to help reduce the levels of PM2.5 dust that has blanketed the area for several weeks, said Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.

Pol Gen Aswin said areas where the levels of ultra-fine particulate matter exceed the safe threshold of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) will be subject to new measures set out by the BMA.

First, he said, the area where PM2.5 levels exceeds the safe threshold set by the Pollution Control Department will be declared as a pollution control zone.

Stringent measures -- which include issuance of warnings, road closures and/or detours, and restrictions on emissions by businesses -- will rolled out in areas where PM2.5 levels are considered unhealthy, said Pol Gen Aswin.

Authorities will focus on pollution-prone areas, such as Intharaphithak Road in Bang Khunthian, the stretch of Rama II Road near Phan Thai Norasing Shrine in Samut Sakhon, as well as Sathon Road and Phahon Yothin Road in front of Kasetsart University, he added.

"As for schools in the declared zones, they would be told to suspend outdoor activities," said Pol Gen Aswin, adding classes may have to be suspended, but the decision will ultimately lie with the schools.

Pol Gen Aswin revealed the plan at a meeting chaired by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanjanarat, which sought to find ways to address persistent haze.

Gen Surasak said the meeting agreed that over the next 3-5 years, the average levels of PM 2.5 pollutants must drop to 35 µg/m³.

In 10-20 years time, the level must fall between 25-35 µg/m³, he added.

"Provincial governors have been authorised to declare pollution control zones in cases of severe haze outside of Bangkok," Gen Surasak said.

Separately, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said after Tuesday's cabinet meeting that the haze that has shrouded Bangkok and its five surrounding provinces is a pressing problem that cannot be addressed in a short period of time.

The National Environment Board, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, has been assigned to consolidate efforts between various agencies to tackle the problem, the premier said.

Urgent measures, including spraying water on roads, have been carried out, which have helped ease the haze to some extent, he said.

"More efforts should be made to spray water from high-rise buildings, such as Baiyoke Tower," said Gen Prayut.

Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said that during the Chinese New Year celebrations next week, concerted efforts will be made to help boost public understanding that the tradition of burning incense, as well as gold and silver papers, during the festivities can also contribute to the haze.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/genera ... trol-zones

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:12 pm

Gaybutton wrote:Pol Gen Aswin revealed the plan at a meeting chaired by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanjanarat, which sought to find ways to address persistent haze.

Gen Surasak said the meeting agreed that over the next 3-5 years, the average levels of PM 2.5 pollutants must drop to 35 µg/m³.

In 10-20 years time, the level must fall between 25-35 µg/m³, he added.
I feel pretty certain that those attending a similar meeting in 20 years time will be saying precisely the same thing! Nothing is going to change barring a drastic reduction in cars, the abolition of public vehicles like the ancient buses spewing pollution into the streets, and preventing large polluting commercial trucks entering the city at nighttime as they do at present merely to save time and a toll or two going around it.

But the weather is a highly important factor and there is absolutely nothing the government or the BMA can do about that. Had the winter monsoon blown in a few times over the last two months as it always has done in the past, Bangkok would have very little of this haze problem. Hong Kong has the same problem in the summer, made worse by industrial pollution creeping down from Guangdong Province and the forest of skyscrapers trapping the polluted air. Now, during Hong Kong's cold season, the AQI is a pleasant "moderate", less than half that in central Bangkok where it is an "unhealthy" 185.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Dodger » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:44 pm

According to today's Thai Meteorological Report the winds should shift from Southeasterly to Easterly by tomorrow which hopefully will shift the pollution flowing from Bangkok more towards Cambodia than directly at Pattaya as predicted earlier in the week.

In any event, it does not appear as if anyone has proposed an actual "Plan" to address the root cause(s) of the pollution which is great news for the manufacturers of face masks, respirators and those ridiculous machines that blow water up in the sky. Before you know it they'll be sprinkling gold dust and tapping on tambourines.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Undaunted » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:25 pm

Bangkok officials close schools as threat continues: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/30/health/t ... index.html
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:27 am

Govt apologises for Bangkok’s suffocating, hazardous smog

Breaking News February 02, 2019 01:00

By The Nation Weekend

Prayut finally admits haze can be blamed on diesel-powered vehicles

The government has apologised to Bangkok citizens about the air pollution that continues to disrupt their daily lives and is threatening their health.

The amount of harmful PM2.5 dust particles in the air has exceeded the safe limit in the capital and adjacent provinces almost daily since late December.

The blue sky typical of this time of year is hidden beyond a grey-yellow haze that could have serious long-term effects on health, and emotions are starting to burn along with the waste and cropland fires that contribute much to the problem.

Residents have been venting frustration on social media, complaining about difficulty in breathing and pressing hard for the government to do more to solve the problem in a concrete manner.

However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and relevant authorities have taken some action to ease the problem in areas under heavy smog. For instance, they have been trying to crack down on vehicles emitting black fumes and are becoming strict with people burning fires outdoors. Officials have also started keeping a close watch on industrial plants, ensuring there are no toxic fumes coming out of their chimneys. Roads are being regularly hosed down and water is being sprayed in the air in the unsubstantiated hope of bringing down the dust particles.

“The government apologises for the inconvenience caused and would like to thank everybody for support and cooperation,” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a statement on Friday. He also called on owners of diesel-run vehicles to only use their cars in Greater Bangkok when it is absolutely necessary.

“If possible, avoid using them until the smog eases,” he advised as he agreed that the main cause of the haze could be put down to incomplete engine combustion.

“As a long-term solution, we will improve the integrated public-transportation system, fuel quality and exhaust fume standards. We will have more petrol stations offering environmentally-friendly choices and start promoting hybrid or electric vehicles,” the premier said.

Separately, Dr Siwatt Pongpiachan, director of NIDA Centre Research and Development of Disaster Prevention and Management, called on the government to start handing out facemasks to people living in areas hit with heavy smog.

“That’s the first thing the government should do because smog is affecting people’s health,” he said. Sitwatt also urged the government to provide people with accurate information, so they know how best to deal with the situation.

“Thailand should learn from other countries that have battled with smog before,” he said.

He also believes Thailand should consider implementing the Clean Air Act and set up an Environmental Protection Agency that can efficiently manage the country’s environment and make it possible for all Thais to enjoy clean air.

The World Health Organisation considers PM2.5 – or particulate matter that is 2.5 micron in size or smaller – as carcinogenic.

According to the Pollution Control Department (PCD), it is unsafe if the amount of PM2.5 exceeds 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Anything beyond this, and people will start experiencing health problems. As of Friday, 35 areas of Greater Bangkok suffered unsafe PM2.5 levels. In Bangkok’s Bang Khen district, a cubic metre of air had 83 micrograms of PM2.5, while in Bang Khun Thien district, the level was 77 micrograms of PM2.5. The PM2.5 level along Rama II Road in Samut Sakhon’s Muang district, meanwhile, stood at around 81 micrograms per cubic metre of air. In a move to protect young children, the BMA has already ordered schools to close for two days. Meanwhile, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank have both urged members of staff who are pregnant, sensitive to dust or have children to take care of to work from home until Tuesday.

In the meantime, operations to fight smog continued in several parts of Greater Bangkok. On Friday morning, four drones took off from Bangkok City Hall to join three fire engines in the latest battle against health-threatening haze.

Water is also being sprayed from the high floors of tall buildings.

The drones, which can cover about a rai (0.16 hectares) per flight, were on Friday spraying parts of Mitmaitree Road, Santiparp Park in Din Daeng, the King Bhumibol Park in Sathorn, Wong Wian Yai in Thon Buri and near the Memorial Bridge in Phra Nakhon.

On Saturday, a fleet of small planes mustered by the BMA and Bangkok Aviation Centre will also spray water along Rama II Road in Samut Sakhon.

Army chief General Apirach Kongsompong said his forces have also actively responded to the government’s policy on fighting the pollution.

“People should help too. Don’t just blame the government. It’s everybody’s duty,” he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30363380

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by fountainhall » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:51 am

The government's exhortation for people to use public transport is stupid on two counts. First, Bangkok residents will never willingly give up their cars. Second, the Skytrain and the MRT have repeatedly been asked in the media to increase the number of cars on each train. They have increased the number of stations dramatically but for years have refused to add more cars. Both at times are close to resembling Tokyo trains at rush hour - but in other parts of the day as well. The Sukhumvit line is permanently crowded because it also carries tourists with their luggage en route from and to Phayathai to catch the Airport train.

A few months ago I was at Lumphini MRT station at about 5:30 pm for a train going in the Ladphrao direction. Yes, it was the rainy season and the station was already very full. One train came through - only it was empty and did not stop. About three minutes later another train stopped but it was jam packed. I had to wait for another FOUR trains to stop before I could squeeze in.

If I was to take a bus, many remain un-airconditioned and belch fumes. Given those pubic transport alternatives, who wouldn't take their cars?

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Jun » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:51 am

The entire Thai public transport system seems to be run by people who have no clue or simply don't care, as the decision makers drive.

If they were serious, the simple things would be done, such as:
1 Putting sufficient carriages on the trains
2 Designing the interconnections properly, so people have the shortest possible time from one line to another. What they actually have is some idiotic mess where the connection is often twice as long as it needs to be.
3 Having a common payment card
4 Run trains on time
5 Don't waste the money on oversized stations, flyover etc. Spend it where there is a benefit. Instead of wasting it on another Makkasan, just build the station the right size and think about the connections.

The rail upgrade north of Nakhon Ratchisima is another case with obvious waste, but that can wait for another thread.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:27 pm

fountainhall wrote:Given those pubic transport alternatives, who wouldn't take their cars?
Even if they wanted to do something such as prohibit single drivers in a car, I don't see how that could be acceptable. People do have to get to and from work, along with a great many other things that single drivers have to do. Besides, I doubt the police even have the manpower to effectively enforce that.

What I think they need to do is start heavily fining fume belching vehicles - everything from motorbikes to cars to trucks to tour buses and any other type of vehicle. They also need to find out which vehicle inspection stations are passing these vehicles and fine them too or shut them down.

I think it would help if all vehicles would be required to undergo inspection. As it stands now, cars don't have to be inspected at all until they are 7 years old. I would even be in favor of a requirement for semi annual inspections.

Measures such as those would certainly put a dent in the pollution.

They also need to start tracking down the other sources of pollution and put a stop to it. They do have the manpower to start doing that.

As for additional cars on the BTS and MRT, that would certainly help too, but only to a certain degree. With a city the size of Bangkok, a great many people don't live, work, shop, or whatever anywhere near the stations.

Three guesses whether to expect any of those measures to actually take place . . .

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Jun » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:21 pm

Testing vehicle emissions would help, providing it is not another hurdle which can be bypassed by bribes.

There is a long list of proven measures which could be copied from other countries, if the political will existed.

In the absence of that, anyone living in Bangkok might think about an air filter inside their appartment and an N95 face mask outside it.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok

Post by Gaybutton » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:27 pm

Ready for this? Now there are fake N95 masks being sold. I hope they catch whoever is doing this - and along with heavy fines and a long prison sentence, if there is any justice, how about taking him to the most polluted areas and let him breath that air for a few days - without any mask at all.

For the article and photos showing how to tell a fake mask from a genuine mask, see:

https://pattayaone.news/en/beware-fake- ... ks-market/

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