Blitz on smoky cars to curb PM2.5 smog
The Pollution Control Department (PCD) aims to reduce PM2.5 air pollution by 25% by imposing the maximum punishment under the traffic law on any driver whose vehicle produces black smoke caused by poor maintenance.
According to PCD chief Attaporn Charoenchansa, the department has been closely working with the Royal Thai Police and the Department of Land Transport to aggressively implement the law in a bid to curb pollution.
Black smoke, especially from diesel engines, is believed to make up around one quarter of air pollution in urban areas.
"The maximum punishment of a 6,000-baht fine and the revocation of their licence will be applied to those in breach of the law," he told reporters.
Mr Attaporn said the department and its partners have already checked more than 25,000 cars this year and barred 100 from being used until their engines were fixed so they were no longer emitting black smoke.
Next year, the traffic law will be ramped up further so vehicles that emit 30% or more black smoke will be penalised, a change from the current 40% rule. The PCD also announced its recent cooperation with 11 big automakers including Toyota, Honda and Mazda to rekindle a campaign called "Car Clinic to Reduce PM2.5".
Under the campaign, car owners who have been using their vehicles for over seven years can visit service centres nationwide to get their engines checked and maintained at a discounted rate of 20-50% from Nov 15-Feb 28.
Each of the automakers has set its own dates under the campaign so car owners need to check first to see when they are eligible to go.
Most of those participating are offering a discount on lubrication and parts.
Some 45,000 car owners have joined previous editions of the campaign over the past two years, with over 1,900 garages also participating.
In a bid to reduce haze in big cities, the government will also promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs), Mr Attaporn said.
The country aims to have EVs account for 69% of the car market by 2035, while a deadline of 2024 has been set for having all petrol formulas meet the Euro-5 regulation.