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Authorities play down air pollution problems in Bangkok

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The capital’s air pollution situation has worsened today as the quantity of the dangerous PM2.5 particles has risen for the first time to code-red status of above 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air at many locations.

Nearly 10 Bangkok areas at 7.15am this morning were flagged “code red”, which is triggered when inhalable particles with diameters generally sized at or below 2.5 micrometres reach 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Another more than 30 areas were designated with the “code-orange” status, which notes that negative health affects are beginning, said a report by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s Environment Office’s Air Quality Division.

The safe limit of PM2.5 in Thailand is considered under 50 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air, whereas the World Health Organisation pegs it at 25 micrograms.

The related state agencies are so far standing firm following their conclusion at a Monday meeting that, as PCD director-general Pralong Damrongthai later told reporters, “the smog is still not critical enough to declare the capital a pollution-control area, which might affect tourism and the business sector.”

The agencies were instead recommending other pollution-tackling measures to the PM including an increase in mobile units to detect vehicles with black exhaust smoke in the inner city; checking the condition of city buses; and intensifying rain-making operations later this week, Pralong told reporters.

If the level of PM2.5 rose beyond 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air for three consecutive days, more intense controls on road traffic and construction sites would be imposed, Pralong said.

Those controls could include a measure to reduce a number of cars on road, beginning with a request to civil servants and state personnel to avoid using their personal cars.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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