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Bangkok smog: Diesel buses and vehicles key problem

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bangkok smog: Diesel buses and vehicles key problem | The Thaiger

by Wichit Chaitrong

“The problem is the estimated 2.5 million diesel-powered trucks and buses still on city roads.”

Experts are saying this morning that, given the problems in recent weeks with Bangkok’s smog, the national government’s pursuit of a “low-carbon economy” has fallen short of needs. They are recommending higher taxes on “dirty fuel” and a reduction in the number of vehicles on city streets.

Like other countries, Thailand has incorporated the low-carbon economy model in policies, aiming for sustainable development and better public health. But, in reality, the necessary changes have not taken effect.

The Finance Ministry has already introduced excise taxes on vehicles that vary with emission levels and successive governments have endorsed railway projects such as the mass transit system in Bangkok. The Energy Ministry plans to use more renewable-energy fuels to produce electricity in place of natural gas and coal.

Praipol Koomsup, an economist specialising in energy issues, says the high level of air pollution in Bangkok indicates that that the country has not yet done enough to make the low-carbon economy a reality.

One of several key contributors to the pollution problem is the estimated 2.5 million diesel-powered trucks and buses still on city roads. Diesel engines produce a significant amount of the PM2.5 particulate matter – a big contributor to the health issues related to Bangkok’s smog.

Praipol backs the idea of government subsidies for people willing to buy electric vehicles, the cost of which remains high.

“The government plans to increase the amount of renewable fuel for producing electricity from about 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the next 20 years. That is our target and we need to do a lot to achieve it.”

Thanawat Polvichai, director of the Economic and Business Forecasting Centre at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, estimated that the air pollution could cost Bangkok businesses 5 billion-10 billion baht because, among other issues, no one wants to linger at open-air food stalls.

But Thanawat expects the crisis’ impact on the overall economy to be short-lived.

Speaking at a recent Thailand Development Research Institute seminar on “air pollution as a negative impact of development”, Adis Israngkura, an economist involved in national resources and the environment, urged the government to raise the tax ante.

“It should review the excise tax system and make it clear to people that pollution will be taxed heavily to discourage the use of dirty fuels such as diesel.”

But Adis believes the government is on the right track with its policies on sustainable development, but it needs to do more. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chairs a committee overseeing the effort, he noted, but “Prayut could take more action”.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25

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Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25 | The Thaiger

The State Railway of Thailand and the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium are putting pen to paper and signing the contract for the high-speed train project on October 25.

The much-discussed high speed railway will link Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao international airports. The new SRT board was approved by the Thai cabinet today.

Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul says he is confident the contract will now be signed, adding that he has already met with Supachai Chearavanont, CEO of the CP group, and assured him of the government’s full cooperation and support.

The Charoen Pokphand-led consortium won the bid to develop the 224-billion baht high-speed train infrastructure as a signature project for the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) high-tech investment hub. The train service is scheduled to be operational in 2024 (The Thaiger is taking bets now).

Recently, however, the CP-led consortium raised concerns over land expropriation and eviction problems and asked for the government to share the risk on this issue. The Transport Ministry has already rejected the request putting the onus on CP as part of the proposal.

Mr. Anutin explained that, in any large infrastructure project involving expropriation of land, it is usual for the government or state agency not to be able to hand over the land to the contractor all at once. In such cases, the contracted completion date can be moved back.

He said the CP-led consortium should proceed with the high-speed train project without further delay because 70% of the land is ready to be handed over.

Meanwhile, the deputy PM admits that he didn’t know why the entire SRT board resigned en masse, delaying the signing of the contract, and denied that he had put pressure on the board to quit. He also denied that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, also of the Bhumjaithai party, objected to the SRT board’s mass resignation because the latter wanted the contract to be signed quickly.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Thai High Speed Railway linking airports now to be signed off on October 25 | News by The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Bangkok

30,000 baht reward offered after prisoner walks away from Bangkok prison

May Taylor

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30,000 baht reward offered after prisoner walks away from Bangkok prison | The Thaiger

Police in Bangkok are offering a reward of 30,000 baht for information that leads to the capture of an escaped convict. The Daily News reports that Pol Col Chanaworasin Suphaphanarak, the chief of Prachacheun police in northern Bangkok, confirmed the reward yesterday.

Phraiphiw Phumiphu, a convicted thief, escaped Bangkok Remand prison on Saturday. It’s understood he had been working outside the prison gates when he ran off.

Press reports say the escaped prisoner is “unstable”, while the poster issued to publicise the reward for his capture describes him as “dangerous.”

It’s understood Phraiphiw previously served a jail sentence for theft but had re-offended.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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