Thursday, December 12, 2019

Aswin calls on experts to help tackle Bangkok's air pollution problem

Jan 31. 2019
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By The Nation

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Bangkok governor Pol General Aswin Kwanmuang on Thursday called on experts to give advice on how best to tackle the severe air pollution that has blanketed the city.

Buildings of Bangkok's Sathorn area are in thick haze as of 7am on Thursday.//Photo Courtesy of Jor Sor 100 traffic radio station

Meanwhile, the Pollution Control Department reported 41 Greater Bangkok areas as having unsafe levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller – on Thursday morning and affirmed the PM2.5 would continue accumulating until February 4.

Aswin called on expert assistance while presiding over a ceremony at the Khon Muang Plaza on Thursday morning to dispatch 50 drones to spray water at haze-affected locations including Kasetsart University, the Lat Phrao five-prong intersection, Lumphini Park and Rama 9 bridge areas. 

The drones – each with a capacity to carry 10 litres of water – were provided by a private association in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Aswin said he had invited experts to brainstorm for solutions at a meeting at City Hall on Thursday. 

"I don't know everything, so I urge [experts] to give their input so that I can get things done,” he said.

Aswin said the city had been trying to wash roads and roadside plants to improve the situation and his deputies have coordinated with the owners to help spray water from the top of tall building. 

District office chiefs were told to check on factories that may have contributed to the pollution and report back to Aswin, he said, adding that the problematic factories would be asked to cut short their working hours during the pollution period. 

He said the city also asked people to co-operate by using a diesel-engine vehicle only when necessary and refraining from outdoor burning. Chinese shrines and foundations have been asked to perform Chinese New Year rituals in a way that would minimise their impact.

The PCD daily update said 41 areas of Greater Bangkok had seen the PM2.5 levels rising beyond the safe limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre of air (including 24 roadside spots and 17 general locales). 

Many areas in Bangkok reported code-red levels of PM2.5 beyond 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air, including the front of Kasetsart University in Bang Khen district (106 micrograms); Charansanidwong Road area in Bang Phlat district (94 micrograms); Bang Kho Laem district (92 micrograms); Bung Kum district (92 micrograms); Bang Khun Thien district (91 micrograms). 

Vicinity province areas that saw beyond-safe PM2.5 levels included Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district (91 micrograms) and Rama II roadside spot in Samut Sakhon's Muang district (95 micrograms), the latter of  which had Wednesday's highest level of 141 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air. 

The PCD said the situation would not improve on Friday, which is forecast to have no wind, and PM2.5 levels would continue accumulating until February 4.

 

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