Govt must form PM2.5 panel: TDRI

Govt must form PM2.5 panel: TDRI

Team information ‘ worsening’ problem

Govt must form PM2.5 panel: TDRI
The Bangkok horizon is covered by cloud after a boom in PM2.5 fine particles 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 educational article addressing the air pollution issue in Bangkok and the northwestern region on its site on Thursday.

The report was written by TDRI recognized fellow Nipon Poapongsakorn and the current agriculture policy experts 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 even suggests implementing a playground- form management system in the northwestern region, and amending pollution control laws.

The report also calls for creating a huge data system to share knowledge about hotspots and air pollutants in Thailand and neighbouring countries, allocating enough resources for local authorities to handle the problem and working closely with neighbouring countries to minimize hotspots, he said.

Mr Nipon said the TRDI study group observed pollution problems in the capital and found they are created by four main factors: heat rotation leading to stale air, carbon emissions from traffic congestion, power generated by fossil gas and shop 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.