Govt ineffective in tackling PM2.5 crisis: Poll

Govt ineffective in tackling PM2.5 crisis: Poll

Traffic police check exhaust fumes released by lorries in Don Muang district on Thursday after the capital is hit by smog. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Traffic police check exhaust fumes released by lorries in Don Muang district on Thursday after the capital is hit by smog. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

A majority of people say government agencies are ineffective in their handling of the PM2.5 smog which has blanketed parts of the capital at a critical level, according to a survey by the National Institute for Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on 1,256 Bangkok residents of various age groups, educational levels and occupations on Jan 15-16 to compile their opinions on how effective government agencies are in tackling the PM2.5 problem.

A majority - 81.06% - of the respondents said government agencies responsible for solving the problem are ineffective. Of them, 40.84% said they are rather ineffective because they lack concrete measures to tackle the problem such as imposing serious controls on construction sites, vehicles emitting black smoke or other polluters; and 36.22% said they are totally ineffective in every department.

Only 2.7% said they are highly effective and 17.60% said they are moderately effective in their efforts, including spraying water to reduce fine dust particles and issuing warnings for people in areas categorised as "red zones" to take precautions.

The rest, 2.87%, had no comment or were not interested.

Asked what they have done to cope with the crisis, 69.98% said they wear masks while outside their houses; 21.50% avoid going outdoors; 10.59% skip outdoor activities; 6.61% use air purifiers; 5.41% keep doors and windows tightly closed; 3.66% do nothing and lead a normal life; 3.50% are not interested as their houses are outside affected areas; 3.18% clean their air conditioners; 2.23% are not interested as they see it only a small problem; 1.83% are not interested because they believe they are healthy with high immunity; 0.64% said they resort to going to other provinces not affected by the PM2.5 dust; 0.48% do nothing because they don't have enough money to buy any devices to protect themselves from the fine dust; and 0.32 grow plants and spray water around their houses.

Asked what they have done to help reduce the dust, 30.57% said they resort to taking public transport instead of using their own cars; 24.20% spray water around their houses; 23.09% stop burning garbage, leaves and other materials; 21.66% do nothing; 16.96% switch off their engines whenever they stop their cars; 8.20% refrain from lighting incense sticks; 7.48% take their cars to repair shops to reduce black smoke; 2.23% stop all kinds of construction; and 3.50% use motorcycles or walk instead of using cars, or switch from diesel-powered cars to cars using gasoline such as E20.

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