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Smog settles in as a chronic Bangkok problem

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Air pollution? What air pollution!?

Bangkok residents will have to put up with smog until early March, as high levels of PM2.5 particles settle over the capital for many more weeks, or months.

Though pollution has become a cause of grave concern to citizens, relevant authorities are yet to introduce significant measures – let alone declare the capital a pollution-control zone.

Some areas of Thailand, including Rayong’s Map Ta Phut and Saraburi’s Kaeng Khoi districts were designated pollution-control zones and seen several stringent measures implemented.

But the Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Pralong Dumrongthai insisted yesterday… “It is still not necessary to make Bangkok a pollution-control area.”

However, he acknowledged that the build-up of PM2.5 in Bangkok was high enough to affect the health of people.

According to Pralong, when PM2.5 level exceeds 100 micrograms per cubic metre of air for three consecutive days, the situation is considered critical.

Pralong blamed vehicles’ exhaust fumes for between 50 and 60 per cent of the problem.

“While 35 per cent is caused by outdoor fires,” he said, adding that people have been banned from burning such fires. Pralong also urged people to wear proper masks to protect themselves from the smog.

For short-term measures, police are now cracking down on vehicles that emit black exhaust fumes and are regularly hosing down roads.

“In the long run, we believe diesel must be replaced by the B20 diesel blend. Also, we will have to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid cars,” he added.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha “has instructed relevant authorities to introduce additional measures to deal with this situation in the next day or two”, Government Spokesman Puttipong Punnakanta said.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Army’s efforts to spray water to ease the pollution on Monday night and yesterday morning did not appear to help much.

In fact, those silly water cannons blasting water into the air, do nothing other than provide a distracting photo opportunity for the media.

Smog settles in as a chronic Bangkok problem | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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