Court suggests BMTA liable for pollution
- Published: 30/10/2012 at 04:18 PM
- Online news:
A Supreme Administrative Court judge on Tuesday recommended that a 2006 lower court decision holding the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) liable for creating air pollution be upheld.
The judge delivered his opinion statement on the civil lawsuit, brought against the city's bus operator BMTA and the Department of Pollution Control by the Foundation Against Air Pollution and for Protection of the Environment (FAAPPE), to the five-member chamber of the Supreme Administrative Court.
The chamber will take the judge’s opinion into consideration and will later make a ruling on the case which can be in favour of or against it.
The decision will be final, with no further avenue for appeal.
The BMTA was accused in 2002 of allowing its buses, and those operated by its concessionaires, to cause excessive air pollution in the Bangkok area.
The Central Administrative Court ruled in 2006 that the BMTA was guilty of failing in its duty to provide good quality public buses. The court ordered the bus operator to improve engine maintenance across its fleet and report the results of emissions tests every three months for one year.
In the 2006 ruling, the court also cleared the Department of Pollution Control of failing to adequately deal with the pollution case.
The Supreme Administrative Court judge hearing the appeal on Tuesday said the BMTA was strictly bound in its duty to provide a quality service to the public by providing buses in good condition as clearly stated in the Land Transport Act BE 2522.
The judge said any bus that emitted excessive air pollution must be banned from public service.
He added that the BMTA operates more than 14,700 buses, but has only 33 pollution inspection machines, not enough to properly test all of its vehicles.
According to the BMTA's own regulations, buses must undergo emissions checks every 15 days. If the amount of black smoke is more than 50% above the accepted standard, the bus must undergo repairs before returning to service.
``It is a fact that the [BMTA] public buses have emitted black smoke into the air in the capital and nearby provinces. The appeal made by the BMTA therefore appears to be groundless,'' the judge said.
The judge also recommended that the ruling favouring the Department of Pollution Control be upheld. He agreed that the department had done its duty to deal with the bus emissions problem.