Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomethailandgeneralBMA to crack down on old vehicles as PM2.5 spirals

BMA to crack down on old vehicles as PM2.5 spirals

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the government have vowed to tackle air pollution, saying vehicle emissions account for 70% of the ultra-fine PM2.5 dust in the capital and urgent measures are needed to curb them.

The average level of PM2.5 in Bangkok was 39.8 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) on Friday. But up to 48 zones in the capital were assigned the orange colour code, indicating that dust pollution is at risk of affecting people’s health, according to data posted on AirBKK, the BMA’s air quality control centre.

People in these 48 areas were advised to begin wearing masks to protect themselves from possible health impact.

Bangkok ranked as the world’s 10th most polluted city on Friday, according to the air quality monitoring firm IQAir.

Despite the various measures the BMA has applied daily for over a year to fight dust pollution, the problem still exists, Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said.

The most critical aspect of this problem is traffic-related sources of PM2.5, he said, adding that the BMA and the Department of Land Transport would heighten their controls on old vehicles in inner Bangkok.

So far, 135,000 vehicles have been checked to determine whether they were causing pollution and 2,141 failed the test, 529 of which were trucks, he said.

Air stagnation, the condition blamed for the accumulation of ultra-fine dust particles, occurs every now and then during a transition from the rainy season to the cold season, said government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

The high levels of PM2.5 are expected to continue for one or two days, considering the current air stagnation in the capital, he said.

Bangkok residents were being advised to closely monitor the air quality situation via the mobile application Air4Thai and follow the advice given on how to protect themselves, Mr Chai added.

Stricter controls on ageing vehicles emitting pollution in Bangkok are now seen as a crucial measure to curb PM2.5 levels at a time of year when air stagnation is a chronic problem, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Phatcharavat Wongsuwon.

The Ministry of Transport, police, the Pollution Control Department and the BMA need to step up detecting pollution-causing vehicles and prevent them from entering Bangkok’s inner areas, while offering more incentives for commuters to switch to public transport including electric rail services, Mr Chai said.

Other measures aimed at countering illegal biomass burning in the farm sector and transboundary haze will continue in all other parts of the country as usual, he added.

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