11 July 2024

Developers of high-rise buildings and electric train projects in Bangkok have been told to suspend construction activities which increase the amount of dust particles in the air for a few days, by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), as it increases measures to deal with the air pollution problem in the city.

BMA spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang told the media that the administration has instructed district chiefs and directors of municipal schools to consider temporary closures in areas worst affected by PM2.5 dust particles, especially kindergartens.

Health Department deputy director-general Danai Teewanda said that schools have been advised to shorten the daily national anthem ceremony and morning prayers to only 10-15 minutes, so that students need not stay outdoors for too long.

He also advised hawkers and motorcycle taxi drivers, who are vulnerable to air pollution, to wear face masks all the time while outdoors.

Air quality in Bangkok today is worse than yesterday, as the average amount of PM2.5 in the atmosphere was measured today at 74.6 microns, ten microns higher than yesterday’s average.

Pongsakorn insisted that the BMA had rolled out 12 measures to deal with air pollution in Bangkok since November 17th.

He explained that construction activities, which may cause more dust, such as excavation and land filling, will be suspended for the next few days, but painting and interior decoration may continue.

Meanwhile, Pollution Control Department director-general Atthaphol Charoeenchansa said that the department will launch a campaign to convince motorists with diesel cars to switch to fuel with a low sulphur content, to reduce emissions.

Thammasat University lecturer Dr. Supat Wangwongwattana suggested that working from home, by office workers of both the private and government sectors, could help ease air pollution as he urged motorists to switch to public transport.

Meteorological Department chief Nataphol Natthasomboon said that Bangkok residents could experience poor air quality for one or two more days, until the arrival of a high pressure front from southern China, which will increase air circulation and ease air pollution in the city.