The Chao Phraya River is blanketed with thick haze on Monday as hazardous ultra-fine dust levels in the air exceeded so-called safe levels in many parts of Bangkok. Residents were warned to wear masks outdoors. Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday said how hard it is to enforce laws to reduce PM2.5, and blamed the public for the poor air quality.
"The public is responsible and a culprit in the PM2.5 problem. Yet we cannot simply put the blame on people and penalise all the polluters because the outcome of penalty measures will create other serious problems for society. We need to rely on asking for cooperation," Gen Prayut told the media during a mobile cabinet event in Narathiwat.
The government is being attacked for failing to tackle air pollution, in particular PM2.5.
On Monday, smog levels remained at unhealthy levels in Bangkok with high pollution readings in 34 out of Bangkok's 50 districts. The amount of PM2.5 in the air ranged from 50 to 89 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³) in the 24 hours to 7am. The government-set "safe" limit is 50 µg/m³.
Meanwhile, the cabinet today will be asked to approve short-term measures to improve air quality proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The measures include a ban on lorries entering inner-city areas on odd-number dates, cutting the sulphur content of premium-grade petrol, promoting carpooling and public transportation, and a crackdown on open burning.
They will take effect immediately after cabinet approval and last until the end of February.
However, experts on air pollution and environmental campaigners complained that these measures do not go far enough.
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cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี
carpool (verb): to have an arrangement where a group of people travels to work/school together and divides the cost between them - ใช้รถยนต์ที่ใช้ร่วมกันหลายคน
cooperation : working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides - ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
culprit : someone who has done something wrong - ผู้กระทำความผิด
expert : someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
lorry : a truck; a large road vehicle used for carrying goods - รถบรรทุก
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (noun): a cabinet ministry in the Government of Thailand responsible for the protection of the nation's natural resources: water, oceans, minerals, and forests. It is also responsible for the protection and restoration of the environment. - กระทรวงทรัพยากรธรรมชาติและสิ่งแวดล้อม
penalise (verb): to punish somebody for breaking a rule or law by making them suffer a disadvantage - ลงโทษ
PM2.5 (n): atmospheric particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. It can lodge in the lungs and enter blood vessels, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular disease -
responsible : deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - มีความรับผิดชอบ
smog (noun): clouds of dirty and smokey air - หมอกควัน, ควัน, ควันพิษ,
sulphur (noun): a chemical element. Sulphur is a pale yellow substance that produces a strong unpleasant smell when it burns and is used in medicine and industry. - กำมะถัน
tackle : to make an organised and determined attempt to deal with something - จัดการ, รับมือ