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Air Pollution

Police commander suggests people in Bangkok work at home once a week to reduce vehicle emissions

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Daily News

While air pollution in Bangkok has largely been linked to field crop burning in the North, deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police, Damrongsak Kittipraphat, suggests those in the city work from home once a week to keep pollution levels down.

Damrongsak says that if people stay at home like they did during the lockdown, it could help reduce vehicle emissions and improve the city’s air quality. But many have dismissed his idea, saying Bangkok’s haze is from crop burning in other provinces.

This week, the air pollutant PM2.5 reached what’s considered “unhealthy” levels, exceeding the government’s safe threshold of 50 micrograms per cubic metre. PM2.5 levels in Bangkok began to rise last month as farmers burned sugar cane fields in the North, getting ready to harvest their crops, according to the Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation.

While a haze from field crop burning drifts down to Bangkok, the Royal Thai Police in the city are doing what they can locally to cut down PM2.5 levels. Damrongsak says the police have set up 20 checkpoints to check vehicles for black smoke emissions. (Doesn’t look like they’ve cracked down on those old city buses.)

SOURCES: Thai Visa | Bangkok Post

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  1. Avatar

    J West

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent proposal, except 99% of Bangkokians are not elite technology workers empowered to work from home.

  2. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    The question is what is most traffic comprised of? Taxis? Mopeds? Lorries? Buses? Private Cars? How much air pollution is from factories? What effect does all the aircon and heatsink and lack of wind have on the situation? Perhaps there needs to be more radical ideas about greening the city?

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Maybe they could “crack down” on factory emissions. I live up in the hills, generally above the smog, but when it’s sugar cane season (just starting) the local sugar cane factory belches out enough smoke so that you can barely see the town 10 kms away.

    … and locally they haven’t started burning the sugar cane fields yet, and only started cutting cane last week, so I’ve got some doubts about how much the burning is to blame in Bangkok, although it has a noticeable effect locally….

  4. Avatar


    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Why not The police commander move his arse and enforce the law. In this case go after farmers and factories. Or conflict of interest again?

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    They are still not treating this continuing problem seriously enough.
    If they want tourists, this foul sir will deter the tourists . . .

  6. Avatar


    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    “last month” was also the end of the rain season so less rain would explain the rise of air pollution since rain washes away polluants (in Europe, pollution peaks in all cities are always in the summer). The last few months, pollution in BBK was actually not so bad.

    This policeman’s idea is not sutpid at all, every little helps, I am pretty sure that it could be more than 1% as J West suggests above. But on its own, it is obviously pointless. Greener public transports (replacing the old stinky buses), more skytrain lines. Decisions and investements are in the hands of politicians…

    And why not, closing traffic one or two sundays a month on some busy roads on big chunks of Downtown Bangkok? I bet during the curfew months, so therefore empty streets, did help to reduce pollution a lot.

  7. Avatar


    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Yes Thailand has an agricultural burning problem and the brick factories have literally driven my wife and I from our home. But I don’t understand why the Thai government doesn’t talk about being stuck right in the middle of the top 3 air polluters on the planet. The amount of cross-border air pollution from China, India, and Indonesia is staggering and something that is completely unmanageable. When the air blows in from the north-east like it has been all of that industrial pollution and PM 2.5 from China enters Thailand without a passport or visa. It makes us just as sick as our own pollution does.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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