Bangkok has been engulfed by smog for the past few days, raising questions about how seriously the authorities are taking the air pollution problem in the Thai capital.
Experts warn of the threat to public health if the unhealthy air quality levels persist, urging authorities to enforce mitigation measures to protect people’s health
It has been almost a week since the PM2.5 level in Bangkok rose significantly, forming a thick layer of smog over the city, but authorities are still scrambling to find solutions to help ease the problem
Spraying water over Greater Bangkok’s sky, trying to produce artificial rain haven’t brought any significant results so far.
“Air pollution is really a silent killer and many Thais underestimate the danger to their health, so not many people protect themselves by wearing a facemask or installing air purifiers at home,” Witsanu said.in The Nation
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), each year there are more deaths from air pollution than from Aids and malaria combined.
The average deaths every year from these two diseases are around 2.36 million people, while deaths from all kinds of air pollution were as high as 6.3 million.
While warning of serious financial costs to match Witsanu emphasised the importance of the authorities taking air pollution seriously and immediately tackling the problem at its root.
He called for monitoring construction sites and limiting cars on the streets, rather simply telling people to wear facemasks.
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE BANGKOK’S AIR QUALITY
The Pollution Control Department has introduced measures to improve its system for measuring air quality, but Greenpeace Thailand country director Tara Buakamsri said there is still room for improvement to ensure safe air. Here are his suggestions.
1 Update safe-air standards in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.
2 Set air pollution emission standard for power plant chimneys.
3 Promote the use of clean, renewable fuels in the transportation sector.
4 Improve public transit with broader access and more extensive coverage.
5 Encourage energy efficiency.
6 Give people incentives to walk, ride bicycles and switch to electric vehicles.
7 Provide easy public access to the pollution monitoring system.
8 Add more urban green space as much as possible.
The environmental case for remote working
Anyone searching for a silver lining to the pandemic should look to the clear, blue skies above them. A reduction in pollution worldwide has been an unintended benefit of the lockdowns and stay-in-place orders imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.
Asian cities most threatened by environmental risk
According to the first instalment of [email protected] series, which ranks the world’s 576 largest urban centres on their exposure to a range of environmental and climate-related threats, 99 of the world’s 100 riskiest cities are in Asia, including 37 in China and 43 in India.
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