Royal Rainmaking Department struggles to control Bangkok PM2.5 levels

Photo courtesy of The Nation

The Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department admits its efforts to tackle sky-high PM2.5 levels in Bangkok are being thwarted by the haze drifting from Myanmar.

The department’s Director-General, Supit Pithaktham, sprung into action after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s directive to combat PM2.5 air pollution actively. Supit revealed that despite their daily endeavours since December to produce artificial rain, the intensified burning of farmland in Myanmar has unleashed a relentless barrage of pollution, carried by easterly winds into Bangkok.

“Although our sorties to seed clouds continue daily, we lack the aircraft to increase our efforts.”

Yesterday witnessed a surge in PM2.5 levels across Bangkok, prompting the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to advocate for remote work today and tomorrow. PM Srettha, responding to the crisis, rushed to the Air Quality Centre of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s Pollution Control Department for a briefing.

The Bangkok-born PM acknowledged the looming threat, highlighting Chiang Mai’s proactive management in contrast to Bangkok’s dire circumstances. Despite being identified as a hotspot, Chiang Mai’s PM2.5 levels remained relatively mild, earning praise from the prime minister who deemed it a model for other provinces.

However, Srettha pinpointed the source of Bangkok’s misery to fumes emanating from Kanchanaburi, bordering Myanmar. He issued a stern directive to the governor to collaborate with the army in extinguishing hotspots and exploring alternatives to curb air pollution.

Furthermore, the PM-cum-finance minister underscored the urgency of tackling pollution at border regions with neighbouring countries, asserting that waiting for nature to rectify the situation was untenable. A quarter of Bangkok’s PM2.5 problem, he emphasised, stemmed from vehicular exhaust, prompting a push towards electric vehicles and public transport, reported The Nation.

Despite proposals for long-term measures, such as relocating squatter communities, the 62 year old PM remained focused on immediate action, urging officials to engage directly with rural communities and emulate Chiang Mai’s success.

In a meeting at Government House, PM Srettha castigated the Kanchanaburi governor for inadequately addressing the issue, urging a replication of Chiang Mai’s strategies. He expressed readiness to visit Kanchanaburi personally, emphasising the necessity for hands-on engagement to garner local support.

Bangkok NewsEnvironment NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles