BANGKOK

Combating to breathe

Fighting to breathe

Combating to breathe

On the street to the Bangkok gubernatorial election, the ‘Bangkok Submit’ is operating the Metropolis Converse sequence, specializing in points going through the capital. We open the sequence with a have a look at air air pollution.

Bangkok is shrouded in haze with record high PM2.5 levels during the cold season. This picture was taken on Dec 6 last year.
Bangkok is shrouded in haze with document excessive PM2.5 ranges in the course of the chilly season. This image was taken on Dec 6 final yr.

Regardless of the federal government’s efforts to deal with the seasonal haze downside within the capital, dense clouds of smog reappeared and blanketed town as soon as once more in November when the climate turned cool and dry, marking the return of the extreme air air pollution in Bangkok.

The thick gray smog not solely impacts the atmosphere, as it’s made up of high quality particulate matter (PM2.5), however it will probably additionally trigger cardiovascular and respiratory ailments and cancers, based on the World Well being Group (WHO).

The WHO estimated that in 2016, PM2.5 was liable for about 4.2 million untimely deaths all over the world.

That is dangerous information for many individuals, particularly outside staff and the poorer inhabitants within the metropolis, who’re extra weak to the well being hazards of haze, as they should endure one other interval of intense air air pollution till the smog dissipates round March.

Vajarathorn Jatianandana, a road meals vendor in Lat Phrao district, mentioned he was dissatisfied by the authorities’ failure to cut back the seasonal PM2.5 smog, saying he has seen no substantive measures to deal with the issue.

“Bangkokians have confronted this downside for a few years and we’ve got not seen any enhancements,” Mr Vajarathorn mentioned.

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“I don’t suppose we are able to depend on the authorities to unravel the issue, as they solely act on the final minute.”

“Their response is weak; they only inform us how one can shield ourselves from air pollution. And when this smog season is over, this challenge is forgotten till the subsequent smog season.”

Because the Bangkok gubernatorial election nears, Mr Vajarathorn mentioned he needs to see a brand new governor who can handle the continual haze downside and present a real dedication to bettering town’s atmosphere.

“Residing in Bangkok, it’s arduous to keep away from publicity to air pollution, as we’re surrounded by air pollution sources,” he mentioned. “If we don’t make town more healthy, how will our kids have a wholesome life?”

Sakunrat Thongtongkham, a Bangkok resident working in Bang Rak, mentioned she has seen the PM2.5 smog getting worse yearly, and extra individuals are getting sick from publicity to air air pollution.

“Town’s atmosphere is far more polluted these days in comparison with after I was younger,” she mentioned.

“Folks now must have air conditioners of their dwelling, of their automobile and at their workplace to keep away from respiration polluted air. In the meantime, those that work exterior or can’t afford air con are compelled to stay in a dangerous atmosphere.”

She mentioned the brand new Bangkok governor might want to have an motion plan to unravel the air air pollution downside and restore the atmosphere as a result of these are points that straight have an effect on folks’s lives.

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Sonthi Kotchawat, an unbiased professional on the atmosphere, mentioned all state companies ought to step up efforts and produce stricter laws to battle the issue.

Mr Sonthi mentioned the seasonal surge of air air pollution in the course of the cooler months in Bangkok is because of a temperature inversion situation, stopping air pollution from town to rise into the environment.

“As it’s past our energy to intervene with the climate, we have to deal with this downside by controlling air pollution emissions at their sources,” he mentioned.

“As a result of the smog in Bangkok comes from a number of sources, throughout the metropolis and elsewhere, robust measures throughout companies are required to control and minimize down air air pollution emissions.”

Inside sources embrace visitors, development websites and industries within the metropolitan space, whereas exterior sources are the burning of sugar cane and leftover paddy straw on farmland in close by provinces.

Despite the fact that the Bangkok governor has restricted energy to forestall the issue, Mr Sonthi mentioned the governor has a vital function to play as coordinator between varied companies.

Mr Sonthi mentioned an motion plan from the central authorities to mitigate air air pollution in the long run can be important.

“The [Bangkok Metropolitan Administration] has the direct energy over many elements of metropolis administration,” he mentioned.

“One necessary factor the BMA can do is enhance inexperienced areas and public parks to not less than 13 sq. metres per capita as bushes can increase the standard of the atmosphere within the metropolis.”

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Assoc Prof Witsanu Attavanich, of Kasetsart College’s College of Economics, mentioned the Bangkok governor also needs to concentrate on decreasing emissions within the transport sector as visitors is without doubt one of the major sources of PM2.5 within the capital.

“Regardless of the BMA not having full regulatory powers over the transport sector — because the jurisdiction lies with the Division of Land Transport — the BMA can nonetheless lead with enhancements within the public transport system,” he mentioned.

“Essentially the most appropriate technique to cut back visitors quantity is by encouraging residents to make use of public transport reasonably than driving their very own vehicles.”

“The BMA also needs to work with the division to forge a regulation for personal automobile licensing to encourage folks to discard outdated makes that emit excessive quantities of air pollution and coordinate with the Ministry of Power to improve gasoline requirements,” he mentioned.

Assoc Prof Witsanu additionally urged the BMA to enact industrial laws that align with the Pollutant Launch and Switch Registers precept to examine and management manufacturing unit emissions.

Figures on Bangkok air high quality by the World Air High quality Index Undertaking, cited in a Rocket Media Lab report, mentioned Bangkok loved solely 90 days of “inexperienced” air high quality final yr, or 24.6% of your complete yr.

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