02/21/2018, 14.39
THAILAND
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Air pollution warning for Bangkok

by Weena Kowitwanij

Thammasat University is currently hosting a conference on public health and the environment. With the application of the Euro 4 standard to vehicle emissions, PM2.5 levels dropped by 25 per cent between 2013 and 2017.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - In recent weeks, air pollution has enveloped Thailand’s capital. Monitoring stations across the city indicate concentrations of fine particles that far exceed safety levels.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a major source of concern as it measures fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5).

In many areas of Bangkok, the airborne particulate matter surged above the safety limit of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre (µcg) over a 24-hour. 

In order to address the issue, Thammasat University is hosting a conference on the destructive danger of particles in the capital Bangkok with the participation of several academics specialised in public health and the environment.

Dr Supat Wangwongwattana, director of Thailand Air Pollution Centre of Excellence and president of the Air and Waste Management Association and the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (Cai-Asia) was invited to the event.

Presenting his research, Dr Wangwongwattana noted that, despite the current emergency, in 2017 the yearly average of PM2.5 was down by 25 per cent compared with 2013.

The reason for the lower average is the adoption of the Euro 4 standard for petrol in 2012 which cuts pollution in both old and new cars.  The Euro 5 standard could be introduced in the near future to solve the pollution problem in Bangkok and other regions of the country.

For Dr Wangwongwattana, when using personal vehicles, people of good faith can play a valuable role in reducing particle concentrations, especially between February and April when the weather and tall buildings make particle dispersion more difficult.

The solution to the problem is to extend a 90-day ban to other parts of the city for longer periods of time. If this is not enough, only small cars or cars with green plates should be allowed during rush hour.

Further measures against air pollution include alternate days for even and odd number license plates, and a ban on open air burning.     

Metro ​​Bangkok is home to around 14.5 million people. The Thai government’s Land Transport Department reported that in 2016 more than 37 million registered vehicles were on the roads of the capital.

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