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Air Pollution

Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem

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Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem | The Thaiger
PHOTO: More people than not now walk around the city wearing face masks, most of them useless - Travel Daily Media
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“Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said it’s hard to enforce laws to reduce PM2.5 pollution and blamed the public for the poor air quality.”

Thai celebrities have taken to social media in a campaign to show the incompetence of public authorities and the Thai government in handling Bangkok’s pollution problem, indeed the entire central and northern Thailand which is currently suffering air quality problems. Whilst the litany of clear evidence of what is causing the smoke and haze isn’t getting any attention from authorities, social media is now making it abundantly clear and demanding urgent attention.

So some Thai celebrities are joining residents in Bangkok and the suburbs to accuse the Government of being “complacent and incompetent” in its approach to solving the worsening PM2.5 dust pollution that is clouding the skies.

Well known singer Lydia Sarunrat posted pics of her bloodshot eyes on her Instagram account yesterday, showing her irritated her eyes after just 15 minutes riding a motorcycle through the smog in Bangkok.

She explained that she’d been wearing an appropriate face mask, but it didn’t help.

Bangkok authorities have famously blamed everything from the traffic pollution and even asked people to stop burning incense sticks. They created big media photo opportunities showing their flashy water cannons and even an army of drones spraying a few litres of water through the air. All of this has done approximately NOTHING to address the problem, the elephant in the room. And the elephant, in this case, is the clear and obvious plantation fires around central and northern Thailand with the smoke blowing across the land and polluting the skies. Without enough wind or rain to blow the smoke away, it just hangs around and causes a health hazard.

The fires are mostly lit by farmers burning off their sugar cane to prepare for a new harvest because it’s the cheapest way to prepare their paddocks.

Meanwhile, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said it’s hard to enforce laws to reduce PM2.5 pollution and blamed the public for the poor air quality.

“The public is responsible and a culprit in the PM2.5 problem. Yet we cannot simply put the blame on people and penalise all the polluters because the outcome of penalty measures will create other serious problems for society. We need to rely on asking for cooperation.”

The Thammasat University Student Organisation issued a statement condemning the Thai Government’s apparent complacency over the deteriorating dust problem.

Many other celebrities have posted the evidence of the fires from Air Visual and other air pollution apps. As well as data from NASA which clearly shows the fires and the spread of the smoke. The evidence should be clear to anyone, except the city authorities and pollution control departments who appear to be unable to read the information and fiddle while Bangkok chokes.

Former Ms. Thailand World 2014, Meya Nonthawan, said she visited a hospital two days after her return to Bangkok from an overseas trip.

“I am now resting at home with an air purifier working.”

Rapper Apisit Joeyboy Opasaimilikit asked, in his Facebook post, “I wonder why no one is worried? Are those responsible not worried about us? It is understandable that the pollution comes at this time of the year and then goes away, but no apparent action is being taken at this critical time.”

Actress Atthama “Bowie” Chivanichapan’s Instagram page shows her wearing a face mask. She says she felt an irritation in her throat after going outdoors.

A Facebook post by “Infectious” reported the children are cluttering up hospitals, suffering respiratory problems, flu, coughing, red eyes, allergies, runny noses and asthma.

‘Narisara Student’ said, on her Facebook page, that she blames PM2.5 dust and pollution for her dog’s respiratory health problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Celebrities take to social media and point out Government incompetence over air pollution problem | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: The pollution levels and the actual fires. There they are, on a map… HELLO!?! – Air Visual

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Air Pollution

Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold

Maya Taylor

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Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

Officials in Bangkok have decided to delay a proposed ban on 10 wheel trucks in light of the current economic challenges affecting the transportation and industrial sectors. The proposed ban was aimed at reducing PM2.5 air pollution in the capital and was expected to come into force from December 1 – 28.

Particulates – also known as atmospheric aerosol particles, atmospheric particulate matter, particulate matter (PM), or suspended particulate matter (SPM) – are microscopic particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in the air – Wikpedia

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter (solid and liquid particles) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres that remain suspended in the air for longer. They can be the result of burning fuel and are the primary cause of smog.

Commenting on the decision to delay the ban indefinitely, Deputy National Police chief Damrongsak Kittipraphas says the relevant authorities agreed the timing is not right.

“The police have discussed with related agencies, including the Department of Industrial Promotion, Pollution Control Department, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Public Transport Association, and agreed to postpone the rule indefinitely. The members at the meeting were concerned that the rule could obstruct the operation of the industrial and transportation sectors that are starting to recover from the economic contraction. Therefore, the related agencies promised to study the issue thoroughly, as well as explore other options to prevent and reduce PM2.5 air pollution in Bangkok.”

However, Damrongsak says that from December 1, authorities in the capital will be clamping down on large polluting vehicles, adding that those emitting clouds of black smoke are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution.

“We will send officers to perform random checks at bus terminals and truck operation centres. The inspection will be recorded via video camera to ensure transparency of police work.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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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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