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Smog across Bangkok can be blamed on a ‘Dust Dome’ of pollutants

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PHOTO: Thairath Online

Poor air quality across Bangkok in the past week are not just caused by the PM2.5 dust. We can blame a ‘dust dome’ that is formed with low atmospheric pressure, dust and pollutants from the farmland waste burning, and greenhouse gases.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa says that the pollutants come from “the improper disposal” of farming waste around Bangkok’s northern outskirts. He also asked provincial governors to ask farmers to avoid burring farm waste. If they refuse to cooperate, there might be an order to ban all outdoor burning activities in the future, while suggesting that farmers should sell their agricultural waste instead of burning it.

The mentioning of the agricultural sector being major contributors to Bangkok’s smog problems is a rare official recognition of the pollution ‘elephant in the room’.

People in Bangkok are also being encouraged to avoid outdoor activities and wear their masks when going outside to prevent both the pollutants and Covid-19. While “unhealthy level” of PM2.5 has been reported in many areas over the past week, the Department of Pollution Control is considering both short-term and long-term measures to tackle the air pollution problems.

Measures that have been rolled out include an extension of the work-from-home policy, lowering the price of low sulphur fuel in the capital and its vicinity, extensive monitoring of waste burning on farms, as well as offering higher prices for sugarcane products which were made in a sustainable manner.

For a long-term plan, the department is considering setting a new standard of air quality by lowering the “safe” threshold for PM2.5 exposure below the current level, but this is likely to happen in the next 5 years. Also, the government aims to apply the Euro-5 standard for vehicle emissions by 2024.

He also says that the pollution situation in Thailand has seen improvement after the measures were implemented. And, the number of days where [air quality] exceeded safe standards was less than 20% of the year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tony Andrews

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Businesses closed, lockdowns, two weeks of expensive quarantine, dangerous smog.
    Who would want a holiday in Bangkok now?

    • Avatar

      gosport

      Friday, January 22, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      Seems BKK is nearly normal in economic activity.

    • Avatar

      Mel Burn

      Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 12:56 am

      That’s exactly true. After years of spending winter in Bangkok, I would not even go now even if there were no travel restrictions. Great food is not worth killing yourself.

  2. Avatar

    Ted

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    ‘For a long-term plan, the department is considering setting a new standard of air quality by lowering the “safe” threshold for PM2.5’

    If they can’t keep the levels even close to what today’s levels are, how can they even think that simply lowering the threshold would do any good.

    Thailand [and many others] need to learn how to acknowledge problems and then find –feasible– solutions.

  3. Avatar

    Steve

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Two hundred trillion Baht is to be injected into a scheme to divert the Mekong river to Bangkok so more water can be sprayed into the air to combat polution 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Mat Ti

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Maybe should try composting instead of burning everything organic?

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    I’d love to know who the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa thinks farmers are going to “sell their agricultural waste” to …..

    … but what a cunning plan of his to “lower the “safe” threshold for PM2.5 exposure below the current level”.

    Brilliant.

    … so it can still be at the same level, but it’ll be deemed “safe”.

    Brilliant, Baldrick.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, January 22, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      I have a cunning plan too. Grind up the agricultural waist, and turn it into cattle cake.
      And how about pigs? Pigs will eat anything.
      However if that does not work, grind the waist, spice it up, and sell it in the vegetarian restaurants.
      To ferangs

  6. Avatar

    Lennart Dasjo

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    I react to the fact that “only” agricultural fires in Thailand cause the dirty air in Bangkok. Sure, the fire creates bad air, but all car and motorcycle traffic pollutes the air even more. And when both happen at the same time, the air in Bangkok gets catastrophically worse. So I am happy to see that MRT and BTS exist and are expanding. Looking forward to when the monorail line will be expanded and will be in traffic if car traffic decreases or not. I personally think that car traffic would decrease if the bus, ferries, MRT and BTS lines had a common ticket system. A city-owned public transport company handles ticket sales and distributes ticket revenues to those in charge of public transport.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 12:11 am

      I agree Lannart.
      That is why keep suggesting catalytic converters many times.
      However my words of wisdom are ignored.
      Alas, Einstein suffered the same official ignorance before me.

    • Avatar

      chupapi

      Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 11:29 am

      The public transport should be made more pervasive in the Bangkok road system, with dedicated lanes. Moreover city council should think to add bike lanes everywhere and support their use, as well as banning any kind of heavy traffic within the city limits.

  7. Avatar

    Sierra

    Friday, January 22, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Throwing this out for thought. One Chinese made submarine buys 4000 crop clearing tractors. Maybe time to consider changing tact.

    • Avatar

      Mr cynic

      Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 6:27 am

      Your completely missing the point of what buying extremely expensive military hardware is really about.

  8. Avatar

    chupapi

    Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 11:25 am

    People who burns waste should get their land seized by govt and put up for auction as compensation for pollution, and blacklisted from getting any kind of subsidy in the future.

  9. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Smog across Bangkok can be blamed on a ‘Dust Dome’ of pollutants……..funny and I thought it could be blamed on humans……what do I know

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