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Dangerous pollution levels reduced by recent rainfall: air quality director

Jan 25. 2018
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By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

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Air pollution in Bangkok was reduced somewhat after Wednesday’s heavy rains helped clear the air after the capital suffered for more than a week from dangerously high levels of particulate pollution.

Pollution Control Department (PCD) on Thursday announced that the air pollution in Bangkok had already returned to below the city’s “safe standard” for particles sized at, or smaller than, 2.5 microns (PM2.5) thanks to the previous day’s downpour.

The department said that the rise in PM2.5 levels in Bangkok was a seasonal problem, which usually occurred during the season shift from winter to summer.

PCD Air Quality and Noise Management Division director Thalearngsak Petchsuwan said that the recent air pollution was related to very high levels of PM2.5 in Bangkok metropolitan area. They in turn resulted from the calm weather associated with the lack of wind during the change of seasons.

The PCD’s air quality monitoring station at Phaya Thai District reported that Thursday’s PM2.5 daily average level was at 14.06 micrograms per one cubic metre of air, which was greatly reduced from Wednesday’s record at 86.17 micrograms.

Thalearngsak explained that due to the lack of wind and sunshine in recent weeks, the air pollution generated from traffic and human activities in urban areas was trapped in the city and accumulated over time until reaching dangerous level.

However, he said that the air pollution will slowly resolve as the weather gets hotter and sunnier, in turn generating the wind needed to carry air pollution away from the city.

“This phenomenon occurs every year, but this year we faced an abnormally long period of calm wind conditions, so the people noticed the problem,” he said.

“We would like to encourage people to drive their private cars less and use public transport instead, as the main source of air pollution in Bangkok is from the heavy traffic.”

Meanwhile, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) also ordered all 50 districts in Bangkok to tackle air pollution by regularly cleaning the streets and sprinkling water into the air.

BMA also suggested those people who are vulnerable to air pollution stay indoors during this period. They also encouraged people to use public transport or ride a bike to help reduce polluting emissions.

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