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Toxic smog settles in for long haul

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Toxic smog settles in for long haul

By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA 
THE NATION 

 

4829f7d5f6bb242c000d0d039015388b.jpeg

A large number of vehicles emit thick black smoke as they wait for the lights to change at the Bang Na intersection yesterday. Photo Supakit Khumkun

 

STATE AGENCY INSISTS MAKING BANGKOK A POLLUTION-CONTROL ZONE NOT NECESSARY

 

BANGKOK RESIDENTS will have to put up with smog until early March, as high levels of PM2.5 particles is expected to settle over the capital for many more weeks.

 

Though pollution has become a cause of grave concern, relevant authorities have 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. 

 

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

 

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

 

“It’s over 70 micrograms per cubic metre of air in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district as of now,” Pralong admitted.

 

This was despite morning downpours, which improved PM2.5 readings in many parts of Bangkok.

 

PM2.5 refers to airborne dust particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. When the number of particles per cubic metre of air rises past 50 micrograms, people’s health is threatened.

 

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 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. 

 

Environmental-health expert Sonthi Kotchawat said Bangkok’s pollution had risen to the point where authorities should do more. 

“Let’s enforce existing laws to seriously address the issues and curb pollution,” he said. 

 

According to him, the Public Health Ministry could invoke the Public Health Act, declaring Bangkok a nuisance-control area for the purpose of easing smog, or the PCD could declare the capital a pollution-control area. 

 

“Don’t just bank on seeking cooperation,” Sonthi said. 

 

In his view, if Bangkok becomes a controlled area, applicable authorities will be able to declare some roads off-limits to vehicles for a certain number of days every month. 

 

The pollution in greater Bangkok was part of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. 

 

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. 

 

For instance, pollution was marginally brought down to 90 from 96 on Monday and to 71 yesterday on Phaholyothin Road.

 

Meanwhile, 22 roadside areas and 15 other sites away from main roads reported PM2.5 pollution beyond the safe level, the PCD said. It also noted the Meteorological Department’s forecast of a 10 per cent chance of rain in Bangkok and nearby provinces for today.

 

Traffic Police Division commander Pol Maj-General Nithithorn Chintakanon said traffic police will set up checkpoints to measure exhaust fumes to help ease the smog problem. 

 

“We had removed the checkpoints for a while now to help ease traffic flow,” he noted. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30362313

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-01-16

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21 minutes ago, webfact said:

Traffic Police Division commander Pol Maj-General Nithithorn Chintakanon said traffic police will set up checkpoints to measure exhaust fumes to help ease the smog problem.

and how exactly does that help?

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

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

then he is the wrong person in the wrong job

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3 hours ago, kannot said:

and how exactly does that help?

By getting the worst off the road?

 

25 minutes ago, mackayae said:

What type of face mask is effective?

N95 which are reported to be sold out at most Bangkok locations.

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They will not fix this problem for three reasons.

 

The first major problem is, that Thai official too much Thai in their head. Means they will never look to other cultures and take advice. Even thought many other cultures have solved the same problem already.

 

Look who is in charge of the maintainance?? Some not so well educated "professionals". Looks still good... must be good.

 

Second, as long they do not take out these old jerk high pollution vihicles, nothing will change. As they do e.g. in Europe.... There are checkpoints and they take out out cars right away.

So, why do Thais complain? Its a home made problem.

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

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

Probably because he doesn't know how to.

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

While 35 per cent is caused by outdoor fires,” he said, adding that people have been banned from burning such fires.

Maybe someone forgot to tell them? Difficult to enforce something they don't enforce? 

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A classic example of how to ruin your tourism-driven economy. Pollute the air, land, and sea as much as possible. Most of this pollution is coming from a population that sees littering and polluting as a sport. 

News flash: tourists will stop coming if you destroy the environment.

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

Traffic Police Division commander Pol Maj-General Nithithorn Chintakanon said traffic police will set up checkpoints to measure exhaust fumes to help ease the smog problem. 

 

“We had removed the checkpoints for a while now to help ease traffic flow,” he noted. 

First up .. What parameters are they working to on the exhaust output checkpoints .. Second up the " free standing " diesel emission roadside check is not an exacting science as it cannot measure output of the engine under load .. Ever seen the smoke output of some of the truck's and buses here when loaded labouring along particularly uphill ? That's when a lot of the damage is being done .. And it is not difficult to fool the roadside exhaust probe check by placing something beneath the accelerator pedal to prevent the engine revving too high ..

The bottom sentence kinda sums up why they don't have a clue about how to deal with this .. Unpalatable as it is a ban on everything but essential vehicles is the way to go .. So expect this toxic air smog issue to continue .. 

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38 minutes ago, SuwadeeS said:

Second, as long they do not take out these old jerk high pollution vihicles, nothing will change

The 'congestion/pollution charge' in London will almost double for any cars made after 2015. £25 A DAY to drive inside the zone. 'Kinnel!

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4 hours ago, webfact said:

When the number of particles per cubic metre of air rises past 50 micrograms, people’s health is threatened.

Wrong!! Misinformation,  the safe level is 12 micrgrams pet cubic meter not 50!

Actually they are conveniently confusing the AQI index (air quality index) with the pm2.5 micrograms count.  The Chinese started this, using the wrong scale,  in an attempt to make the values look better.

 

They should strive for sub 20 values,  declaring everything above 50 an emergency. Apparently they doubled this stating above 100 is an emergency...

 

See the attached conversion scale from pm2.5 to aqi. The right column shows the pm2.5 microgram count, left you see the aqi index associated and the colour that goes with it. 

Screenshot_20190116-081259_Gallery.jpg

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download.png.033f7a572813e1d3106253257f84ca51.pngFires burning last night in SEA. Gee whiz. I wonder if they could have anything to do with it. 

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The easiest fix will be to close their eyes, hold their breaths and wait for March at which time they can hail their success in beating the problem. I see a promotion in the wings as reward for this innovative, face saving approach. 

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