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Air Pollution

Bangkok 12th worst city for air quality in the world today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok 12th worst city for air quality in the world today | The Thaiger

It’s a list you don’t want to be on the top of.

The Air Visual website is reporting that Bangkok’s air pollution level stands at 136, with PM 2.5 level at 57.8 micrograms per cubic metre, making the Thai capital the 12th on the list of cities today with the worst air pollution in the world. Chinese and Turkish cities constantly rank in the top five cities in the world for poor air quality.

(Since this story was written, the air quality in Bangkok has improved to around 60-80 as of 1pm Tuesday, Some industrial areas to the west and east of the city are still between 102-159.)

The figures are according to the US AQI standard.

Air Quality Index is a standard that indicates the quality of air and the level of pollution…

• Level 0-50 means good air quality, 51-100 means moderate quality

• 101-105 will start affecting sensitive groups

• 151-200 is slightly harmful to health

• 201-300 is highly harmful

• 301-500 means extremely dangerous level

Meanwhile, the Pollution Control Department reports that air quality in Bangkok and its perimeter is currently hovering between ‘moderate’ quality to ‘starting to affect health’. The Thai safety limit for 2.5 micron particles per cubic metre is 50 micrograms while the safety limit for AQI is 100.

The PCD also reports fine PM2.5 particulate dust higher than s’normal’ at 27-53 µg/m3 on Din Daeng Road in Din Daeng district and in Krathumbaen district in Samut Sakhon.

SOURCE: The Nation

Bangkok 12th worst city for air quality in the world today | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

Tax old cars? Relax, it’s just a rumour says Government

May Taylor

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Tax old cars? Relax, it’s just a rumour says Government | The Thaiger

The Thai government is dismissing suggestions that it might impose a tax on old cars as just a rumour.

The Pattaya News reports that Government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat says there are no plans to introduce a tax for older vehicles, saying it’s merely a baseless rumor circulating in the private sector.

She adds that imposing a tax on cars older than 10 years would require significant planning and studies in order to be implemented successfully. At the time the reason giving for the tax on old cars was related to reduction of air pollution, despite ‘old cars’ being a fraction of the total problem on Thailand’s roads.

However, the Government says correct maintenance of older vehicles is crucial to reducing PM2.5 particulate matter and pollution caused by dirty exhausts. Narumon says the Government is prepared to consider all suggestions before introducing any new policies and is conscious of the need to avoid negative implications for the general public.

Officials have also confirmed that tax on all other vehicles and the method for calculating the amount to be paid remains unchanged for now.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Air Pollution

Bangkok air pollution on the rise again

May Taylor

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Bangkok air pollution on the rise again | The Thaiger

Flimsy paper face masks will be the only winner in the latest round of air pollution smoking up Bangkok at the moment. The Thai Pollution Control Department reports that excessive PM2.5 particulate is currently on the rise in the capital, suburbs and two neighbouring provinces.

PM2.5 particulate is the term used to describe very fine dust particles that reduce visibility and can make the air hazy and smoky. Studies show that an increase in PM2.5 can cause or worsen respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, with those exposed to excessive levels at increased risk of heart and lung disease.

Thai PBS World reports that The Pollution Control Department puts the air in Bangkok and surrounding areas as below standard, with PM2.5 exceeding 100 microns in some areas, up to 180 in one location.

Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Samut Sakhon have all recorded PM2.5 at 29-63 microns, with 50 microns detected in Pathumwan, Bang Kor Laem, Khlong Sarn, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khen, Bangsue, Laksi, Tambon Mahachai of Samut Sakhon’s Muang district, Tambon Om Noi of Krathum Ban district of Samut Sakhon and Tambon Paknam of Samut Prakan’s Muang district. (Latest readings from aqicn.org on the link)

Residents in those areas are advised to protect themselves while outdoors.

The usual response from the BMA and Thai government is to roll out the water cannons and requests for people to only use their cars if necessary. Meanwhile, the main polluters – factories, dirty diesel buses and regional burn-offs – continue unabated.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Bangkok air pollution on the rise again | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Bangkok air pollution on the rise again | News by The Thaiger

CHART: aqicn.org

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Air Pollution

Thai air pollution crisis spiralling out of control

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai air pollution crisis spiralling out of control | The Thaiger

Leading academics say the Thai government is simply not equipped to prevent the air pollution crisis “spinning out of control”. Despite ambitious proclamations, like the publicly announced goal to solve the problem by 2022, lawmakers continue to downplay threats to human health and allow conflicts of interest to prevent real advances toward solutions.

During a smog crisis in Bangkok earlier this year the government was content with publicity stunts like firing water cannons into the air in a show of photo opportunities for the compliant Thai media. They also made much fanfare about ‘water drones’ which were dropping a few litres of water from the sky. In both cases the affect on Bangkok’s air pollution was precisely zero.

Thanawat Jarupongsakul, chairman of the National Strategic Drafting Committee on Green Growth and chairman of the Thai Global Warming Academy, says conditions like those in Bangkok earlier this year… “are likely to become more intense because the pollution sources themselves help build up inversion layers that trap the dust underneath”.

Thanawat says outdoor fires generate gases along with PM2.5 matter. Sunlight turns these gases into ozone particles, which are not just harmful, but also help build up inversion layers, which prevent the air below from rising, trapping pollutants.

In an article in the Bangkok Post, Thanawat says the urbanisation continues to change Bangkok’s landscape, creating a heat-island effect that creates inversion layers during winter, trapping the area’s self-generated pollutants. He now warns that Thailand may have reached a point of no return.

“There’s no doubt our weather patterns are changing, and we’ve known this would occur due to climate change.”

“We should abandon our polluting ways because we can no longer count on nature to blow it all somewhere else.”

Thai air pollution crisis spiralling out of control | News by The Thaiger

According to Niramol Suthamkit, director of Thammasat University’s Pro-Green Centre says that air pollution from vehicles, infrastructure construction and property development are the result of urban and economic growth priorities.

“There is little policy that prioritises the environment for society’s overall quality of life.”

Academics argue that economic incentives that force the public to change its behaviour are needed, and that pollution must be tackled at the root. Some advocate taxing vehicles directly, and creating new markets for agricultural waste and biomass that don’t involve burning. But this would require a seismic shift in policymaking

The number of Bangkok’s registered vehicles has more than doubled in the past ten years to 10.5 million. But no effort is being made to reduce these numbers. Instead, transportation plans call for 1,047 kilometres of new roads and expressways over the next decade.

About 90% of dangerous particles in the air in and around Bangkok are generated by vehicle exhaust, biomass burning, factories and dust from construction sites. And as the pollution readings ratchet up, so do health-related economic costs.

The Pollution Control Department is aware of these costs. Citing a study in South and Southeast Asia from 1999 to 2014, showing PM2.5 caused around 1.4 million premature deaths, they PCD recommended urgent and strict controls on emissions. But the government has done almost nothing in this regard.

According to a professor at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Economics, the government first has to realise that we’re facing a crisis that demands this research. Vehicles belching out dangerous black exhaust remain widespread, and despite anti-burning regulations, 66% of the sugarcane that entered mills this year was burned prior to harvesting.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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