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Bangkok smog: Odd-even number plate driving rule threatened




PHOTO: PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Praying for a change in the weather?

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is warning that he might be forced to introduce the odd-even number rule for traffic in Bangkok if all other measures to ease the health-threatening smog problem in Bangkok and its peripherals fail (they have so far).

With his Article 44 powers, the Prime Minister could introduce the measure immediately and without consultation. But he would also be aware, now in his new role as a candidate for the forthcoming election, that such a move may not be popular amongst city voters.

The PM says he didn’t want to apply the “bitter pill” to address the smog problem without first resorting to other less stringent measures in order not to hurt the people.

“If the people want me to get tough, I am ready to respond. Any cars caught belching black smoke will be stopped right on the spot and towed away. I will issue such order and let see if this will cause trouble or not. I do not want to cause trouble to the people but I want them to have awareness.”

He then went on to warn that he might have to introduce the odd-even rule for driving on alternating days if the people do not cooperate with the government in easing the smog problem.

The PM issued a junta’s order today empowering military personnel to check all factories to make sure that they do not discharge dust particles into the atmosphere beyond the limits, failing that they will be temporarily closed down until the problem is remedied.

Meanwhile, Professor Dr Chaicharn Pothirat, a specialist on lung diseases of the faculty of medicine of Chiang Mai University, is urging the government to adopt the World Health Organisation’s daily dust particle standard which is set at 25 microns instead of 50 microns as set by the Pollution Control Department and the annual dust particle should not exceed 10 microns compared to Thailand’s 25 microns.

Citing studies on the annual PM2.5 dust particles in Southeast Asia, Dr Chaicharn said that reduction in the amount of dust particles would help increase the longevity of the people.



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