Friday, August 23, 2019

Still air, higher particulates predicted for today

Jan 17. 2019
A trains runs through along a track as bad air pollution continues to affect Bangkok yesterday. // EPA-EFE PHOTO
A trains runs through along a track as bad air pollution continues to affect Bangkok yesterday. // EPA-EFE PHOTO
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By The Nation

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POLLUTION is expected to get worse in Bangkok today following slight improvements in weather conditions yesterday.

Fewer locations reported fine particle dust beyond safe levels yesterday, while the Meteorological Department issued a warning about a high-pressure area hovering over Laos and the Northeast that will bring temperatures down by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius in greater Bangkok today. 

According to the department’s director-general Phuwiang Prakhammin, there will be a slight dip in temperatures from yesterday to Saturday thanks to the high-pressure area. However, once the cooler air mass withdraws, still air will hover over greater Bangkok and it will combine with fog. The level of fine particle dust may peak on Sunday. Though the air may be less toxic because rain on Tuesday and Wednesday washed away some of the dust. 

The Pollution Control Department (PCD), meanwhile, reported that 16 roadside areas and nine general areas (away from main roads) in greater Bangkok still had unsafe levels of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in the air. The safe limit is 50 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air. 

In Bangkok, roadside areas on Phaholyothin Road in Chatuchak district, a spot in front of Kasetsart University in Bang Khen district and the area near the Thanon Tok intersection in Bang Kho Laem district each reported an unsafe level of 62 micrograms.

The PCD also reported that the quality of air today will be “moderate” and cited the weather bureau as saying there will be no rain in the capital and its five surrounding provinces. 

In the wake of pollution, various agencies have this week implemented dust-reducing measures such as suspending the construction of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand’s Orange, Yellow and Pink electric rail lines until January 22. 

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has been checking vehicles and keeping exhaust-spewing buses off the streets, while traffic police have nearly doubled checkpoints to 20 from the previous 12 to catch and seize polluting four-wheelers. 

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has sent workers to clean and hose down risky spots on a daily basis. 

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