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North-east wallows in heavy air pollution, Bangkok improves

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North-east wallows in heavy air pollution, Bangkok improves | The Thaiger
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Bangkok has had a respite in the past week from almost two months of heavy air pollution. Whilst the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, government and pollution control department dithered around with spurious explanations, the pollution persisted.

Water cannons, fire departments spraying water from atop city towers, amateur drones flying tiny ‘clearing’ missions and asking factories to shut down, kept the media fed with material but did little to nothing to solve the chronic central issues – old buses, old diesel-engined vehicles, plantation burn-offs to the northeast of the capital and heavy traffic.

To tackle any of the real pollution contributors would have been unpalatable in the lead-up to the election. Pushing smoke-bellowing cars and trucks off the road, cancelling bus services and telling northeastern farmers (and voters) to stop burning off their crops, would have risked a political backlash.

But nature came to the city’s rescue this week with some winds and light rain that pushed the heavy smog on.

Meanwhile the north-east provinces of Thailand are now suffering under crippling air pollution, mostly from the burning off of cane and rice crops. Again, whilst noting that the annual burn-offs are contributing to the problem, the Khon Kaen Governor, and others, have resisted discussing alternatives with farmers.

Today, Bangkok’s smog problem is very low whilst Khon Kaen, in the heart of the north-east, is suffering bad air quality.

The northeastern region had only three air quality-monitoring stations, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Loei, while the PM2.5 measuring devices are only stationed at Loei and Khon Kaen.

North-east wallows in heavy air pollution, Bangkok improves | News by The ThaigerNorth-east wallows in heavy air pollution, Bangkok improves | News by The Thaiger

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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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