Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

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Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Gaybutton » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:19 pm

Bangkok on high alert as PM2.5 levels forecast to rise

Vulnerable groups urged to stay indoors

by Supoj Wancharoen

9 Jan 2020

Bangkok on Wednesday recorded the world's third worst air quality on Air Visual, a popular app monitoring pollution, while City Hall is on high alert for a predicted rise in PM2.5 levels until the end of this week. (My Air Visual app shows the air pollution is just as bad in Pattaya, with Chiang Mai not far behind - GB)

The level of PM2.5 at 9.30am on Wednesday rose to over 119 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), placing the Thai capital third behind only Australia's Canberra and India's New Delhi in terms of air pollution.

However, by 6pm the level of PM2.5 had dropped to 33.9µg/m³, placing the city 32nd on the app's real-time ranking of the world's air quality.

In a related development, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has put its health officials on high alert following a rise of PM2.5 -- hazardous ultra-fine dust -- in 38 of 50 areas in the capital and adjacent provinces.

According to the Pollution Control Department (PCD), the levels of fine particulate matter in the 38 areas ranged from 40 to 71µg/m³.

Muang district of Samut Prakan was the worst polluted with 71, followed by Krathum Baen district in Samut Sakhon and Bung Kum district in the capital with 70. Other unhealthy areas were Bang Khunthian, Bang Na, Pathumwan, Thon Buri and Wang Thonglang districts.

Muang district of Nakhon Pathom, Pakkret district of Nonthaburi, Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani, Phra Pradaeng district of Samut Prakan were also among the worst areas.

The PM2.5 levels have worsened since Monday. The government considers readings of 51 or more unsafe for health. Elsewhere in the world the safe level is usually much lower.

Chawin Sirinak, director of the BMA's Health Department, said the Communicable Diseases Control Division is closely following guidelines drawn up to help authorities effectively respond to air pollution concerns.

He said officials at mobile units led by 68 health offices were instructed to step up an awareness campaign among city residents, with a focus on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people with heart and respiratory complaints.

The health mobile units are instructed to step up monitoring of vulnerable groups if PM2.5 levels register between 76-100µg/m³ for three consecutive days.

The PCD sets the so-called safe threshold of PM2.5 at 50µg/m³. The fine dust can cause severe respiratory disorders, especially among vulnerable groups. People with underlying health problems were advised to wear face mask and avoid non-essential outdoor activities.

To help relieve the situation, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has ordered the police to strictly monitor emissions from vehicles and factories and enforce the ban on open-air burning.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... st-to-rise
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Air quality worsens in Bangkok, Pattaya area noticeably smoggy

By Adam Judd

January 9, 2020

Air quality in Bangkok and its suburbs deteriorated even further this morning, with 50 areas now considered to be dangerous to health with levels of airborne PM2.5 dust particulate increasing to as much as 74 microns, well above the standard safe amount of 50 microns.

According to readings taken from the city’s 72 air monitoring stations at 6am this morning (Thursday), by the Pollution Control Department and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, 39 areas of Bangkok and 11 areas of surrounding suburbs were found to have an excessive amount of PM2.5 dust particles, compared to 33 yesterday.

Pattaya is noticably smoggy and the nearby islands can not be seen due to the amount of smog in the air.

Officials in both cities have said meetings are underway to discuss the issue.

https://thepattayanews.com/2020/01/09/a ... ly-smoggy/

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Jun » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:36 pm

I wonder what asking the "police to strictly monitor emissions from vehicles" means ?
Do they have portable emissions test equipment, plus clear limits, above which vehicles may be impounded ? ie Something tangible.
Or is it another load of BS which will make no difference ?

Also, as far as I can see, the Thai government has done nothing to improve pollution since last year.

I have packed an FFP3 face mask for this trip, but don't think it's necessary in my current location on the Andaman coast.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Gaybutton » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:53 pm

Jun wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:36 pm
Or is it another load of BS which will make no difference ?
Three guesses . . .

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Jun » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:07 pm

Gaybutton wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:53 pm
Three guesses . . .
One guess is sufficient.

I can't quite fathom why the authorities are not concerned. Unless their homes, offices and cars all have filtered air, they must be subject to the pollution themselves. I always thought self interest was one thing that did motivate Thai politicians, but perhaps their analysis of this issue hasn't gone that deep yet.

Maybe it needs a few premature deaths in high places.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Dodger » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:51 pm

Portable hand-held emission testers have been out on the market for a long time. I have yet to see one being used by the police in Thailand.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Gaybutton » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:24 am

Obviously the burning is a serious part of the problem. And if ash from the Philippine volcano, currently erupting, blows this way, along with smoke from the terrible fires in Australia, that will contribute to the problem.

I've also read articles saying the police, at least in Bangkok, are stepping up checking the exhaust of trucks and public transportation buses and other vehicles in an attempt to bring down the air pollution levels - and that should have been done and strictly enforced a long time ago. If the exhaust pollution goes beyond limits, the vehicle owners will be fined and the vehicles will be held until repairs are made and they meet the standards. Your guess is as good as mine as to how effective this will be, how long and/or rigidly it will be enforced, and whether any BiB are caught accepting bribes to look the other way.

Regarding the burning, maybe Thailand ought to consider subsidizing the farmers in return for not burning. If they do that and it works, that alone would considerably reduce the air pollution problem and would likely be more cost effective than whatever they are spending to combat the problem and largely failing to bring the problem under control.

I enjoy the government telling people they ought to remain indoors. The last time I checked, the air indoors comes from the air outdoors. What good would remaining indoors actually do? My guess is little or nothing.

All of the air pollution in Thailand was caused by people. People can put an end to it.
__________________________________________________________________________

Sugarcane growers defy burning ban

by Chalit Phumruang

January 13, 2020

NAKHON SAWAN: Local sugarcane growers in this central plains province have been seen burning their fields at night despite authorities' ban on the practice to curb smog.

Farmers say burning the fields before harvest saves money and time. Labourers prefer collecting burnt sugarcanes to fresh ones full of leaves, farmers say, and by burning the vast plantations across the province they avoid the long wait time for harvesting machines that are in short supply.

The practice of burning the fields at night is to reduce the likelihood of intervention by authorities, who banned field burning late last year in a bid to control hazardous fine dust. On Monday morning, the Pollution Control Department reported that the quantity of particulate matter 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter amounted to 65 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in Nakhon Sawan over the past 24 hours. The safe limit is at 50mcg.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... urning-ban

Pattaya News wrote:The Pattaya News notes that many analysts feel the root cause of the air pollution is the seasonal burning, however, most admit it isn’t an easy problem to solve as many farmers have used burning methods for generations in Thailand. Expensive methods of harvesting that are better for the environment are out of reach of most Thai farmers and thus when faced with a decision between defying a ban and a loss of livelihood most will choose to defy the ban.
https://thepattayanews.com/2020/01/13/d ... pollution/

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Jun » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:51 am

Very amusing and correct comments about air indoors coming from outdoors. Personally, I would invest in a good quality air filter if living in a badly polluted area. Then indoor air can be better than outdoor air.

As for farmers, they should just ban the burning and fine them heavily, even if the burning is done at night and all they see is scorched earth. Of course if controlled burning reduces the risk of a major Australia style inferno, then they might need to make bans temporary, rather than permanent.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Jun » Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:48 pm

According to the Bangkok Post, there is a proposal to ban diesel trucks from entering a zone in the city, on even days in January and February.
This strikes me as way too little and It's going to increase pollution on the odd days.

What they need is a regime to move polluting vehicles off the roads permanently. Following Singapore and London by introducing a congestion charge for polluting vehicles would make more sense. Make electric vehicles exempt. Start with a modest charge with planned increases so that operating non-compliant vehicles becomes hopelessly uneconomic in a few years.

The Bangkok Post also shows the police inspecting a vehicle with a horrific stream of black smoke. I would hope they send the vehicle to the crushed.

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Re: Air pollution problems in Bangkok - and it's not very good in Pattaya either

Post by Jun » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:12 pm

The air quality in Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai has been particularly poor today.
I've been using a phone app called IQ Air Visual, which has various display modes, including one with a map showing the locations of the measuring stations and their readings.

My face mask was used yesterday and today, when out walking.

Has anyone else made any behavioural changes in view of pollution ?

In addition to the mask, I've decided not to bother even thinking about visiting India, where the pollution is considerably worse.

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