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Thread: Bangkok Pollution News Dedicated Thread

  1. #1

    Bangkok Pollution News Dedicated Thread

    Add any news articles or discussion regarding the current pollution problem in Bangkok to this thread!

  2. #2

    Bangkok air full of toxic heavy metals, studies show

    BANGKOK • Bangkok's air is full of toxic heavy metals, researchers have discovered, and it is contributing to year-round hazardous threats to public health. The director of the Centre for Research and Development of Disaster Prevention and Management at Thailand's National Institute of Development Administration on Thursday called on the Thai authorities to set out standards for controlling the emissions of every hazardous heavy metal found in the air. Dr Siwatt Pongpiachan said his studies have found that Bangkok air contains harmful levels of cadmium, tungsten, arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

    His two academic studies of the Thai capital city's air pollution revealed that within the very fine PM2.5 dust particles were at least 51 kinds of heavy metals, of which three - cadmium, tungsten and arsenic - were found at unsafe levels, according to World Health Organisation standards. "Right now, Thailand has set a safe emission standard only for lead. Even though we have detected lead in the air, its concentration is still within the safe level, thanks to the authorities' measures to get rid of lead from vehicle fuels and control the emissions of lead into the environment," he said. "We need a similar set of safe-emission standards for other kinds of heavy metals as many of these hazardous substances present very serious threats to human health in both the short and long term."

    Studies conducted by environmental group Greenpeace have also noted another health threat from the toxic heavy metals found within PM2.5 particles. The studies found that PM2.5 dust particles are contaminated with toxic environmental substances. The tiny particles - it takes three of them to equal the width of a human hair - can pass through the body's dust protection system found in the respiratory tract, enter the bloodstream and reach the internal organs, delivering the toxic particles directly into humans. Dr Siwatt said the studies found that levels of these airborne toxic substances did not change much from week to week throughout the year, indicating that the majority of pollution sources were from local areas of Bangkok.

    "Even though weather patterns during this time of the year and the transboundary haze are partially contributing to the serious smog problem, the research studies indicate that the exhaust from traffic, factories and crematoriums are the true major sources of air pollution in Bangkok," he said. He noted that the transport sector emits pollution in many ways, as the incomplete burning of fuel in the vehicles, especially those that use diesel fuel, emits a large amount of PAH.

    These PAHs can cause cancer, while the city's traffic congestion also causes the level of tungsten in the air to rise significantly as drivers apply their car brakes - the heavy metal serves as a brake lining. Tungsten-contaminated PM2.5 are thus released into the air. Meanwhile, cremation is a major source of air pollution and heavy metals, Dr Siwatt said. Many parts of the human body, such as prostheses and tooth fillings, contain heavy metals and they are released into the environment during cremation. "There are so many temples in Bangkok that cremate human bodies every day. Even though many of these temples' crematoriums have pollution filtering systems installed, not 100 per cent of heavy metals are filtered," he said.
    Last edited by news junkie; 01-28-2019 at 05:17 AM.

  3. #3

    Bangkok Governor given strong powers as pollution spreads

    With air pollution worsening in the capital and affecting more areas on Friday, residents are waiting to see what action Bangkok Governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang will take next. The city’s Pollution Control Committee on Thursday authorised Aswin to declare the capital a “nuisance problem control area” under the Public Health Act and take more drastic action if the levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – exceeded 75-100 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Pralong Damrongthai told reporters about the decision after the committee meeting.

    He said all agencies involved, including the Meteorological Department and the Departments of Land Transport and Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, were asked to promptly submit action plans to Aswin if PM2.5 topped 75 micrograms. Pointing out that the PM2.5 level was not unsafe in all 50 districts of Bangkok, Pralong said it was appropriate to declare a nuisance problem control area so that the governor could use his discretion in shutting down pollution sources and call on other districts for help.

    If PM2.5 tops 100 micrograms, an emergency meeting of the National Environment Board would be convened to devise measures to present to the Prime Minister, Pralong said. Pralong said the committee also decided to summon experts to discuss lowering the PM2.5 safe limit from 50 to 25 micrograms per cubic metre, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. In its daily update, the PCD said 24 areas of Greater Bangkok had PM2.5 above the 50-microgram threshold on Friday morning, when there was little wind. Sixteen of those places were along major roads. It said the situation could improve in the afternoon with stronger winds predicted.

  4. #4

    Air pollution keeping Bangkok students at home

    Air pollution has forced the suspension of classes at private schools across Bangkok this week, though on Wednesday the Pollution Control Department (PCD) reported fewer areas with unsafe levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller. Kindergarten to secondary students at Roong Aroon School in Bang Khun Thien are on unscheduled holiday through Friday after the PM2.5 level topped 90 micrograms per cubic metre of air in the district on Tuesday. The safety limit is 50.

    Administrators at Lertlah School Petkasem in Nong Khaem district took the same measure and are reportedly considering postponing exams unless the situation improves. In Thawi Watthana district, Plearnpattana School is keeping kindergarten pupils at home through Friday. Nearby Baanploypoom Kindergarten on Tuesday told parents to use their discretion about what their kids should do, especially if they have health issues. Families unable to arrange babysitting on short notice could send their kids to the school, but all outdoor activities are cancelled.

    The Education Ministry has issued no directives about temporary school closures, leaving it to the discretion of administrators. On January 14 it instructed directors of schools in unsafe areas to bring their daily flag-raising ceremonies indoors and to make other adjustments with student safety in mind.Dr Kiat Rakrungtham of the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand, speaking at a recent seminar on the pollution crisis, recommended that schools be closed or class times rescheduled while the problem lingers.He cited a Japanese study’s finding that children under five years developed pneumonitis due to lengthy exposure to fine-particle airborne dust.

    Unicef has warned that PM2.5 can migrate from the lungs into the bloodstream and affect other organs. It also said exposure to “large amounts” of PM2.5 during pregnancy could affect the baby’s development.The PCD reported on Wednesday that the PM2.5 level was an unsafe 51-69 micrograms per cubic metre in 14 areas of Greater Bangkok, down from 40 areas on Tuesday, when nearly 10 districts were above 90 micrograms, earning “code-red” status.

    It said the situation had improved on Wednesday in most of the code-red areas, including at the Tanon Tok intersection in Bang Kho Laem district, which hit 101 micrograms on Tuesday and was down to 69 on Wednesday. Phetchkasem Road in Phasi Charoen district was at 100 micrograms on Tuesday and 50 on Wednesday. Rama II Road in Bang Khun Thien went from 96 to 56.Citing a Meteorological Department weather forecast, the PCD said strong winds should dissipate much of the pollution on Thursday. It reiterated that it was working with other agencies to get polluting vehicles off the road, clean the streets, spray water into the air in trouble spots, stop outdoor burning and create artificial rain.


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