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Air Pollution

Cambodia burns, Bangkok chokes, schools closed

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Cambodia burns, Bangkok chokes, schools closed | The Thaiger
GRAPH: The hourly updates show the active fires causing most of Bangkok's haze problems - FirmsModaps
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Bangkok mums and dads will need to sort out what to do with the kids for the rest of the week after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration closed public schools from today because of the excessive air pollution. Most of the smoke and haze is blowing in from Cambodia with light easterly winds.

All schools under the supervision of the BMA will close until Friday. Air quality in the capital has worsened over the past two days with Bangkok recurring the world’s 5th worst air pollution yesterday (today it is 10th). The forecast today is for light winds and poor air circulation which will compound the accumulation of PM2.5 dust and smoke particles.

In other measures City Hall is asking high-rise construction and electric train construction sites to suspend their operations until Friday.

And on the transport front Police have been asked to prevent trucks with six wheels or more from accessing the Ratchadapisek ring road until midnight on Thursday and to set up roadblocks to check vehicle exhaust emissions.

Most of these measures will do little to improve the overall situation as the poor air quality in the capital is caused by plantation burn-offs from sugar, corn and rice fields in the central, north and north-east, plus easterly airflows blowing in the same burn-off smoke from Cambodian farms.

Back in the city, district officials and municipal police will patrol open areas to make sure there is no burning outdoors, while city workers will spray water in the air and on roads to wash away dust.

The whole of Bangkok and its vicinity were found to contain excessive amounts of PM2.5 dust and smoke particles yesterday, measuring up to 188, nearly 4 times the upper safe limit imposed by the Pollution Control Department, and nearly 8 times the limit set by the World Health Organisation.

62 air quality measurement stations in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, including Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, show the health threatening levels of PM2.5, which exceed the 50-micron safety threshold. The highest level was found at Tambon Paknam in Muang district of Samut Prakan.

This morning the highest readings around Bangkok are 160 but out to the west, in the Ratchaburi province, readings are up to 208. Pattaya has readings up to 159. Up in the north, Chiang Mai has a reading this morning of 165, and central Thailand’s Kampaeng Phet measured the country’s worst today at 218. The windflower map shows the easterly winds blowing the forest and plantation smoke from Cambodia and Laos into Thailand. Chiang Mai is listed as the world’s 5th worst air pollution today.

Check out the actives fires, principally responsible for causing the air pollution around Bangkok today, HERE.

Read The Thaiger’s editorial about the air pollution ‘elephant in the room’ HERE.

Cambodia burns, Bangkok chokes, schools closed | News by The ThaigerCambodia burns, Bangkok chokes, schools closed | News by The Thaiger

Air pollution readings from AirVisual.com

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Thailand

New national haze forecast website gives 3 day forecasts at 70% accuracy rate

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New national haze forecast website gives 3 day forecasts at 70% accuracy rate | The Thaiger

Thailand is getting a new national haze forecasting website that is capable of giving a 3 day forecast at a 70% accuracy rate. The Pollution Control Department is unveiling the “Mekong Air Quality Explorer” platform, which was named after the area is was originally designed to monitor. The PCD teamed with the USAID and NASA, the latter of which has permitted the use of its data from its GEOS-5 satellite-which ranks as one of the world’s most accurate parameters for gauging atmospheric levels of PM 2.5, black carbon and nitrous oxide.

Aekkapol Aekakkarararungroj, the project chief, helped develop the new model, which came as part of ongoing efforts to capture the overall picture in the Mekong Region, which has been strongly affected by the burning season in northern Thailand.

“From now on, anyone can access the haze website to check the PM2.5 situation in advance and the department will use the information to better implement measures to limit the impact of air pollution on people’s health and the local environment.”

Aekkapol says the forecasting website will also provide detailed nationwide air quality data right down to the district level, as it has begun importing air quality and PM data from its air monitoring stations in Bangkok and surrounding areas. Additionally, it is using data from 14 other provinces nationwide.

Today, PM2.5 levels are forecasted to be moderate with a small rise to be seen tomorrow in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathum, Samut Sakhon and Nonthaburi provinces. Aekkapol says people living in these areas should expect guidance from local authorities on the best steps to take to minimise their exposure.

Thailand’s PCD Director-General Attapol Charoenchansa says that further development is underway to enable an even more precise estimates, right to the sub-districts and individual highways.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Air Pollution

Residents express health concerns as smog engulfs Pattaya

Maya Taylor

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Residents express health concerns as smog engulfs Pattaya | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Pattaya residents have expressed concern over air pollution, as the eastern coastal city finds itself engulfed in smog. The Pattaya News reports that the deterioration in air quality has been ongoing for a number of days, with a cloud of haze obscuring the bay and neighbouring islands.

Residents are advised to wear masks when outside and to limit outdoor exercise, according to officials, who have so far not clarified what the cause of the pollution might be. It comes as mass sugar cane burning is taking place in farming communities around the country, an activity that has caused air pollution problems in the past. While sugar cane burning is technically illegal, residents say the law is not strongly enforced, resulting in an annual rise in air pollution levels.

Residents express health concerns as smog engulfs Pattaya | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Netizens are urging the government to do more to prosecute farmers and large companies found indulging in the practice. They are also calling on sugar cane customers to reject burnt produce, in the hope it will force producers to use cleaner harvesting methods.

In the past, officials have pointed to tourist traffic, including airplanes, boats, and buses, as being a possible cause of the pollution. However, with air quality continuing to deteriorate, despite the current significant decline in air travel and tourist numbers, that hypothesis seems unlikely.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Air Pollution

Crackdown on vehicles emitting black exhaust to tackle Bangkok pollution

Caitlin Ashworth

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Crackdown on vehicles emitting black exhaust to tackle Bangkok pollution | The Thaiger

Buses, trucks and other vehicles that puff out clouds of black exhaust could be fined and may even be suspended from driving on the road. The Pollution Control Department says the government plans to tighten vehicle inspections in Bangkok to tackle air pollution.

In Bangkok, the air quality fluctuates throughout the day and week. Recently, levels of PM2.5 in some areas have been considered unhealthy. The air pollutant PM2.5 is fine participate matter which can be harmful to people’s health at high levels.

The crackdown on vehicles emitting excessive black smoke is intended to lower the levels of PM2.5, according to the department’s director general Attapol Charoenchansa. He adds that too much pollution is produced from diesel engine combustion.

Under Thailand’s Land Transport Act, vehicles that emit an excessive amount of smoke can be suspended from the road until the problem is fixed. Attapol says the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will “intensify” measures to tackle the pollution.

In past inspections, thousands of vehicles have been found to emit black exhaust, but only a portion of them have been fined. From October 2019 to September 2020, out of the 9,539 vehicles inspected, 7,010 emitted black exhaust, but only 2,526 were fined.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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