Toxic smog levels surge in capital

Toxic smog levels surge in capital

A blanket of smog has covered Bangkok as the levels of PM2.5 pollutants have surged in recent days, according to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

The BMA's deputy permanent secretary Chatree Wattanakhajorn said yesterday that the ultra-fine dust has been accumulating since yesterday and is expected to continue until tomorrow.

Mr Chatree said the BMA's Department of Environment has coordinated with all relevant agencies to tighten protocols on combatting pollution and alleviating dust, as well as intensive street washing.

The BMA has also worked with pollution control-related agencies to set up 20 checkpoints across the city for vehicle inspection to prevent the emission of black smoke, one of the sources of PM2.5.

Activities that emitted air pollution have been controlled at various workplaces including waste incineration facilities. Related agencies have also been instructed to spread information about car maintenance, urging motorists to have their cars checked every six months.

Mr Chatree urged people to reduce the use of personal cars, especially diesel-engine vehicles. An air pollution clinic has also been opened to safeguard the health of the public, together with the issuance of health guidance.

The public can see three daily updates showing PM2.5 levels at 7am, 12pm and 3pm via the BMA's social media channels and sites including bangkokairquality.com and prbangkok.com.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), said 20 checkpoints have been set up across the city to prevent or mitigate emissions of black smoke, five of which are mobile inspection units.

From Jan 1-15, police flagged down 3,748 lorries and public vehicles, of which 1,482 were found to be emitting levels of black smoke exceeding safety levels. They also found 919 of 4,667 personal pickup trucks doing the same. A total of 88 cars have been prohibited from use, the police said.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan said the MPB has tightened its inspections of vehicles.

Lorries or public vehicles found to be in violation of the rules can face fines of up to 50,000 baht or 1,000 baht for personal cars. The vehicles will also be suspended from use.


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