According to data from the air quality monitoring system in Bangkok from December to February in every year, the PM 2.5 concentration exceeds the national standard in many areas.
A Success Story in Solving PM2.5 in Bangkok
The situation of PM2.5
According to data from the air quality monitoring system in Bangkok from December to February in every year, the PM 2.5 concentration exceeds the national standard in many areas. The study on the proportion of PM 2.5 emission from various sources in Bangkok and its vicinities shows that fuel combustion originated from the road transportation sector have the highest emission of P.M. 2.5 dust for a total of 51% (18.3% from pick-up trucks 16.3% from trucks, 9.1% from buses and 1.3% from other vehicles), followed by Industrial plants at 21%, 10% from household, 9.5% from other transport sectors, 6% from open burning, 1% from agriculture and energy sector and 0.5% from waste management coupling with weather conditions during these periods not being conducive to the dispersion of dust particles, which have stagnant air masses, meaning that calm winds or weak winds is not enough to disperse PM2.5. The accumulation of dust in the air is increasing and may become even more severe in the future. Without good management these dust particles can not only cause environmental problems but also cause public health problems as well, as it will affect the health of most people living in the area. Not to mention the impact on the economy and tourism sector as well.
The air pollution problems, especially the PM2.5 problem that usually occur alongside urban development, requires immediate attention. The emission indicator for PM2.5 is one of the indicators within the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), goal 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. People being affected by air pollution problems would also affect other development goal, especially the third goal, good health and well-being.
What BMA have done
To solve the PM 2.5 problems, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has implemented these measures in cooperation with related sectors as follows:
1. Appointed a committee to direct the prevention and how to solve small dust
problems in Bangkok, with the Governor of Bangkok as the Chairman, an action plan was prepared to solve the PM 2.5 problem in the Bangkok area. By monitoring, forecasting, and reporting the situation, BMA was able to respond swiftly, reducing the PM 2.5 dust emitted from the source. As well as, integrating operations between relevant departments.
2. Developing an action plan to solve the PM 2.5 problems within the Bangkok area in 2022. In accordance with the National Agenda Action Plan “Solving Dust Pollution Problems” BMA’s action plan includes measures aimed to control the source of pollution, such as strict monitoring of black smoke from all type of vehicles and, coordinating better traffic management, campaigning for people to not leave their engine on when not driving and to periodically maintain them, promoting the use of public transportation, suggesting business to adopt the work from home policy, strict monitoring of pollutions from establishments, making sure building site have proper fence and for vehicle leaving one to always wash their tires beforehand, and prohibiting open-air burning. There are also measures to reduce the impact on people’s health by using surveillance and alerts in schools.
Under the action plan. The measures have several levels of actions and will be periodically raised based on the level of PM2.5 and the potential impact on people’s health.
3. Strictly implement measures to reduce dust at the source area (Area-Based), focusing on preventing and solving traffic problems in the inner Bangkok areas, and preventing and solving air pollution problems originated from open burning in the outer Bangkok areas.
1)Measuring black smoke from all types of diesel vehicle by cooperation with relevant agencies according to the action plan.
2) Coordinating with local police stations to better facilitate and manage road traffic.
3) Campaigning to turn off the engine when not driving.
4) Advising motorists to regular maintenance of the engine.
5) Encouraging people to reduce travel mode by private cars and switch to
mass transit systems.
6) Controlling business establishments in the area not to emit air pollution that exceed the standards prescribed by law, such as manufacturing of metal containers, ore smelting, wooden furniture, wooden utensils, incense sticks, and coals. Also include business that utilize a boiler that is fueled by oil, or business that involves the manufacturing of building materials.
7) Controlling construction activities causing PM 2.5 and make sure the law is being abided by, as well as, not allowing vehicle that emits black smoke travelling on the road.
8) Prohibiting all types of open burning.
9) Instructing cremation workers to follow the correct procedures according to academic principles.
10) Increasing the frequency of road washing and vacuuming, as well as, spraying the leaves.
11) Providing health information to the public on how to stay healthy in PM 2.5 situations through the use of online platform, local radio, LINE application and through affiliated schools.
12) Reporting the results of the measures to the air quality management center every day until the PM 2.5 values is within the safety standard level.
4. Up-to-date report on Bangkok’s PM 2.5 situation can be accessed by the public through several channels such as, www.bangkokairquality.com, www.prbangkok.com, www.air4bangkok.com, and from the BMA’s official Facebook page. They can also be accessed in real-time by downloading the AirBKK application. The information will be updated 3 times a day at 7.00 AM, 12.00 PM, and 15.00 PM. Public participation from the people to monitor their own health and take safety measure is indispensable, especially in high-risk groups, such as children and the elderly. By planning out their activities and work schedule, they can avoid unnecessary exposure to PM 2.5.
For solving the PM 2.5 problems in the long term, BMA has set several guidelines.
1. Follow the annual action plan for solving the PM 2.5 problems in Bangkok areas under the National Agenda Action Plan “Solving Dust Pollution Problems” which covers the control of pollution from vehicle and traffic.
2. Accelerate the development of public transportation system in Bangkok to cover all the city area in cooperation with national agencies. It is estimated that by the year 2029, mass transit system will cover all of Bangkok areas for a total distance of 510 kilometers. This will allow BMA to employ measures such as, alternating the daily travel mode. At that time, it will also have hopefully shifted the usage of public and private transportation which is currently 40 percent for public and 60% for private to the targeted 60 percent for public and 40 percent for private usage.
3. Accelerate the increase of green areas within the city by building more
park as well as encouraging people and private sectors to plant more trees within their properties. Not only will this reduce air pollution, but it can also be a place for people to relax in. Which in turn, will help reduce heat island effects resulted from global warming in urban area. Therefore, many of the measures aiming to solve the PM 2.5 problems will be useful for solving the impacts of climate change problem as well.
4. Determine the urban planning measures in the new comprehensive Bangkok
planning plan to help alleviate air pollution problems, such as, encouraging the creation of public areas or outdoor parks, developing around the mass transit system, making the city more compact, in order to reduce activities that can cause dust in communities.
Success Story in Solving PM2.5 in Bangkok
From the integrated efforts of BMA and its network partners to develop and implement the annual action plan for solving the PM 2.5 problems in Bangkok areas under the National Agenda Action Plan “Solving Dust Pollution Problems”, Bangkok were able to reduce the annual average amount of PM2.5, from 25 ug/m3 in 2017 to 23 ug/m3 in 2021.
1.The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) 2018)
2. The Action Plan to Solve the PM 2.5 Problems within the Bangkok Area in 2022
A Success Story in Solving PM2.5 in Bangkok