Air pollution in many parts of Bangkok is becoming intolerable.
Bangkok, named the most visited city in 2018, hopefully will not earn another superlative – most polluted. Yet, newspapers’ headline is near just that. By Wednesday, January 16, the city entered the world’s top ten for smog, according to The Nation newspaper.
On the other hand, Bangkok Post reported that warnings have been given by the Pollution Control Department that high levels of hazardous particulates remain stagnant in many areas of the city due to lack of wind. The same office urged authorities to strictly enforce dust and smoke regulations.
On January 13, Greenpeace Thailand issued a statement that Bangkok is now number 9 in the world’s worst air quality index (AQI). On top of the list is New Delhi in India with 309 on US AQI, followed by Dhaka in Bangladesh with 293. Shenyang in China with 264 is number 4, then Kathmandu in Nepal with 246, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia with 234, Mumbai in India with 196, Wuhan in China with 180, Bangkok with 179 and Dubai, 174.
The government has used water canon to fire water into the air to help clean it. It has also planned to seed the clouds for temporary rain.
One kindergarten school has reportedly closed for at least two days to reduce health risks to the children. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the discretion to close schools lies on the Education Ministry.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest suppliers of vehicles. Its roads and highways are always clogged with too many vehicles – the primary source of airborne particulates. The government has urged motorists to reduce using their vehicles and for everyone to avoid lighting fires outdoor.