Capital to tackle PM2.5 dust

Capital to tackle PM2.5 dust

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt has unveiled a plan to improve the city's ability to cope with hazardous ultra-fine dust particles (PM2.5), saying open and more accurate data about sources of the dust is the key to success.

A digital platform will be used to disseminate information including how much toxic fumes are being produced by factories and how each district office is responding to sources of air pollution, according to the governor.

"When everyone has sufficient access to this data, I believe efforts to tackle the PM2.5 problem will gather momentum," he said after chairing a meeting on the issue between City Hall and the Scenario Thailand Foundation.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is working with universities to analyse and pinpoint where the PM2.5 dust is coming from, he said.

Many old cars running on diesel engines with combustion problems are the primary source of PM2.5 dust currently and a solution lies in converting these vehicles into modified electric cars, he said.

The BMA is also following up on the implementation of measures launched by the Department of Industrial Works on June 10 which require factories to disclose data on their pollution levels, he said.

Mr Chadchart added the BMA was now looking to scale up a public campaign for motorists to switch to using public transport and for Bangkok residents to grow more trees where possible.

Face masks capable of protecting against PM2.5 and air filtering machines have already been ordered and they will be distributed to vulnerable groups when PM2.5 pollution reaches critical levels.

Schools and hospitals are preparing PM2.5 safe zones for sheltering people when PM2.5 levels are high, Mr Chadchart said. Usually, the period between November and March marks the critical time for PM2.5 problems in the capital, he noted.

The BMA also aims to increase the number of PM2.5 measuring stations around the city, from 50 at present to at least 1,000 to improve the accuracy of data reporting, he added.

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