Aswin to take lead on toxic haze crisis
The Bangkok governor, Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, has been authorised to spearhead a campaign to tackle fine dust particles that have shrouded Bangkok, according to Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Pralong Damrongthai.
The capital has been troubled by accumulated fine particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, known as PM2.5, for many weeks.
The Pollution Control Committee held a meeting Thursday to find ways to address the problem. The meeting was chaired by Wijarn Simachaya, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pralong said participants agreed that in the event that the volume of PM2.5 rises to the range between 75 and 100 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), which is above the 50 µg/m³ "safety" limit, the Bangkok governor is authorised to declare a pollution control zone.
After the declaration is issued, the governor can order a ban on activities that produce air pollution and mobilise support from other districts to help deal with the problem, he said.
If the level of the PM2.5 surpasses 100 µg/m³, the National Environment Board will map out measures to combat the haze before forwarding them to the prime minister to order the enforcement of them, he said.
The Thai Meteorological Department, Department of Land Transport, Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation and the PCD were also required to submit plans to the Bangkok governor to help mitigate the problem in the event that the PM2.5 level rises to a range between 75 and 100 µg/m³, Mr Pralong said.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Research and Development of Disaster Prevention & Management under the National Institute of Development Administration has pointed out that apart from fine dust that can enter the respiratory system, the particles can also carry germs and metals into the body.