11 July 2024

The Royal Thai Air Force has sent two transport planes from an airbase in the northern province of Phitsanuloke to Bangkok to help ease the problem of worsening air pollution in and around Bangkok.

Air Marshal Pongsak Semachai, director of the RTAF’s Civic Affairs Department and spokesman of the RAFT, said today that the two BT67 transport planes which were previously used in support of the artificial rain-making operations would start its mission to spray water from the air over Bangkok and five neighbouring provinces this evening.

He said that each plane can carry about 3,000 litres of water and he hoped that the water spraying operation from the air would help ease the health-threatening problem posed by excessive amount of PM2.5 fine dust particles hovering in the air above Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom and Pathum Thani.

He gave an assurance that water to be used is clean and will not pose any health hazards.

Environment expert Sonthi Kotchawat noted that the air pollution has been around for about two months, but the problem was ignored by agencies concerned which tried to claim that it was a seasonal phenomenon.

He also said that the cleaning of dusty roads with water and the spraying of water into the air would at best provide a temporary relief which would not solve the problem, citing the example in some Indian major cities where authorities will reduce the number of cars on roads by enforcing the odd-even rationing use of road space.

Sonthi also noted that the Pollution Control Department had used 50 microgram/cubic metre of PM2.5 particulate as a standard gauge to measure health-threatening air quality compared to World Health Organization of 25mg/cum.