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Air Pollution

Thai PM mulls private car ban in pollution-stricken areas

Jack Burton

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Thai PM mulls private car ban in pollution-stricken areas | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The sun sets in Bangkok shrouded by thick smog - Nathaphol Lovakit
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“Bangkok’s governor has also signed an order yesterday to close 437 schools in in the city today due to a forecast of higher pollution levels.”

The government is considering a ban on private car use in areas affected by hazardous levels of air pollution. The harsh proposal was unveiled Tuesday by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha after a cabinet meeting in Narathiwat. The PM said only public transport services would be allowed to use the roads during a ban.

“Is that what we want? Do we really have to go that far?”

The severe measure would be employed on a case by case basis to avoid unnecessarily negative impact.

The PM says the government is ready to step in with such measures when ultra-fine PM2.5 dust particles in the air exceed 100 micrograms per cubic metre, twice the national so-called safe limit of ’50’. (PM2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter suspended in the air)

“If the dust levels rise to more than 100 micrograms, the government will take over all the work and everyone will be affected.”

The PM was responding to questions about calls for tougher measures to deal with sources of the problem and accusations that his government hasn’t done enough. According to the Prime Minister, vehicle exhausts are the primary source of PM2.5, followed by biomass burning and industrial emissions. The specific burins of sugarcane plantations, known to be the largest single cause of the smoke problems, wasn’t addressed.

In areas where the PM2.5 levels rise to between 75 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre, the provincial governor will implement more stringent measures like prohibiting heavy trucks from entering certain areas of the province at certain times.

And if PM2.5 levels go above 100 micrograms the government will step in and may implement even more stringent rules, “which would affect everyone,” according to the PM.

How these measures would play out in reality, and how motorists would be warned of the restrictions wasn’t explained.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, meanwhile, hinted that if measures against lorries prove inadequate, private cars could be targeted next.

“It has been found that 72% of the PM2.5 dust particles come from traffic emissions.”

The source of the Minister’s claim wasn’t announced at the time he made the statement.

Among the short-term measures to be implemented next in Bangkok is a ban on heavy trucks from entering certain parts of the city on alternate days, possibly in February only.

Bangkok’s governor has also signed an order yesterday to close 437 schools in in the city today due to a forecast of higher pollution levels.

SOURCE: TheBangkok Post | Air Visual

Thai PM mulls private car ban in pollution-stricken areas | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Air quality has improved around parts of the capital today whilst the fires to the north east and north west are clearly displayed – Air Quality

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Air Pollution

Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Bangkok’s air quality is ‘unhealthy’ today | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Air quality around Bangkok this morning is awful. Partly due to the lack of wind to blow the smog out of the area. To the south of Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon, the air quality is even worse with visibility on the ground cut to less than a kilometre. You would be well advised to reduce you activities outside on a day of high air pollution in the capital. The rating by airvisual.com is ‘unhealthy’.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

Readings around the inner city vary between 190 – 220. Areas to the east, including around Suvarnabhumi Airport, are higher.

A lot of the smog and smoke is flowing down from the north and north east where plantation fires rage, mostly unenforced, this time of the year, from December to May. Farmers have been told, repeatedly, to avoid buying off the waste after harvests of corn, rice and sugar cane but officials have been disinclined to enforce the laws. Many of the farmers have long-term contracts with some of Thailand’s leading agri-business conglomerates.

Bangkok and the central region can expect many more months, especially as the temperatures rise throughout February, March and April and the winds remain low as the north-easterly monsoon weakens.

Bangkok's air quality is 'unhealthy' today | VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: View across the Bangkok skyline from Sathorn this morning.

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Air Pollution

Bangkok enveloped in bad smog Friday

The Thaiger

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Bangkok enveloped in bad smog Friday | The Thaiger

Get out the anti-pollution masks and turn on the air purifier, air pollution in Bangkok is at unhealthy levels. 64 locations in Bangkok were reported with high levels of the air pollutant PM2.5, according to the Pollution Control Department.

As a cold weather front in China weakens, air circulation is also slowing down, causing dust to accumulate and drop to a lower altitude, according to the director-general of the Pollution Control Department. A north east monsoonal airflow blows a lot of the smoke from burn-offs and agricultural activity in Thailand’s north, south and south westerly.

Bangkok is just in the flow of the winds from up north. Drivers are advised not to keep the vehicle’s engines running while parked. Farmers are also asked not to burn farm wastes in open fields.

Everyone should reduce outdoor activities, he says. 64 areas in Bangkok recorded the dust particles reaching unhealthy levels. The highest PM 2.5 levels were reported in Amphoe Muang of Samut Sakhon and were classified as “very unhealthy.”

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Air Pollution

Air pollution at “unhealthy levels” in 64 areas in Bangkok

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Air pollution at “unhealthy levels” in 64 areas in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Get out the anti-pollution masks and turn on the air purifier, air pollution in Bangkok is at unhealthy levels. 64 locations in Bangkok have reported high levels of the air pollutant PM2.5, according to the Pollution Control Department. People are advised to avoid outdoor activities.

As a cold weather front in China weakens, air circulation is also slowing down, causing dust to accumulate and drop to a lower altitude, according to the director-general of the Pollution Control Department.

Drivers are advised not to keep the vehicle’s engines running while parked. Farmers are also asked not to burn farm wastes in open fields. Everyone should reduce outdoor activities, he says.

64 areas in Bangkok recorded the dust particles reaching unhealthy levels. The highest PM 2.5 levels were reported in Amphoe Muang of Samut Sakhon and were classified as “very unhealthy.”

Air pollution at

 

As of this morning, Bangkok ranked 20th on the list of cities with worst air quality, according to IQAir, but this is subject to change as the list is updated frequently and air conditions continuously fluctuate.

SOURCES: Bangkok Biz News | Thai PBS World | IQAir

 

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