Thursday, October 17, 2019

Barking up the wrong tree in fighting smog

Jan 20. 2019
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So it’s another weekend of smog at deadly levels, following another week of official action aimed at the wrong target. Our government halts construction, which produces PM10. Legions of motor vehicles meanwhile remain free to belch out PM2.5 – and that is what probably destroys lives.

Yes, construction is a problem, but more for what it deprives us of than what it emits. Inexorably, the authorities have allowed trees – the cleansing “lungs” of our planet – to be hacked away, making room for a grim procession of concrete monoliths. With hindsight, the year 2002 can be seen as a turning point, when the well-functioning and decidedly “green” Siam Intercontinental Hotel was demolished. Simultaneously, at the heart of the city, most of its 26 acres of life-saving parkland and foliage were razed.

A Paragon of consumerism and The Kempinski Hotel replaced it, a symbol of greed untouched by the kind of thoughtful planning that helps keep people healthy in cities elsewhere.

Ironically, it was also in 2002 that the Ministry of Natural Resources was set up, charged with “returning the natural environment to the Thai people”. Far from returning it, they have presided over its decline. In what state will they bequeath it to future generations? The replacement complex of the old Dusit Thani Hotel and ONE BANGKOK, will Lumpini Park itself have been concreted over soon? 

The mind is filled with horror, as our lungs are filled with toxins.

Linus AE Knobel

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