Govt must form PM2.5 panel: TDRI

Govt must form PM2.5 panel: TDRI

Team notes 'worsening' condition

The Bangkok skyline is obscured by haze after a surge in PM2.5 fine dust pollution in January. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
The Bangkok skyline is obscured by haze after a surge in PM2.5 fine dust pollution in January. (Photo: Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

A national committee to devise a policy on battling the PM2.5 problem, and an agency to manage the smog are needed to address the nation's air pollution, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).

The TDRI published an academic article addressing the air pollution problem in Bangkok and the northern region on its website on Thursday.

The paper was written by TDRI distinguished fellow Nipon Poapongsakorn and the modern agriculture policy researchers Sutthipat Ratchakom and Kamphol Pantakua.

To solve the problem of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), TRDI suggests the government establish a committee with the power to work specifically on this issue as well as fund its operation, Mr Nipon said in the paper.

TDRI also suggests implementing a sandbox-type management system in the northern region, and amending pollution control laws.

The paper also calls for creating a big data system to share information about hotspots and air pollution in Thailand and neighbouring countries, allocating enough budget for local authorities to manage the problem and working closely with neighbouring countries to reduce hotspots, he said.

Mr Nipon said the TRDI research team observed pollution problems in the capital and found they are created by four main factors: temperature inversion leading to stale air, carbon emission from traffic congestion, electricity generated by fossil fuel and factory density.

The team found that despite the government's policy to promote electricity produced from renewable energy sources, such as solar and biomass, renewable energy makes up only 18% of the total, he said.

Emissions from at least 3.28 million diesel engine vehicles, which account for 27.37% of vehicles in the capital, as well as a large number of factories in neighbouring areas of Bangkok also worsen the air pollution problem, Mr Nipon said.

In the northeastern region, the research team found that farmland burning was the main factor in worsening air conditions there, he said.

The team found that about 580,000 rai areas in the region had been burned repeatedly for over a decade, he said.

The research team found that agricultural burning on farms in neighbouring countries is another factor contributing to the country's worsening air pollution, he said.

The problem is the hardest factor to mitigate, as cooperation is needed from across the border.

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