Monday, 19 August, 2019

Bangkok faces prolonged air pollution crisis

Ban on dirty household fire fuels to tackle air pollution Dirtiest fuels get the chop to clean up log burners
Sandra Phillips | 17 January, 2019, 07:12

The ambitious new strategy to clean up our air and save lives cites air pollution as one of the biggest threats to public health in the United Kingdom, behind only cancer, obesity and heart disease.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has announced a crackdown on emissions from the home as part of a wider push to reduce people's exposure to particulate matter which is considered the most damaging pollutant.

"The authorities must ensure clean air for everyone, or at least they should improve their strategies to protect people from air pollution and raise public awareness on this unsafe threat to their health".

The strategy also contains plans to reduce ammonia emissions from farming, with a requirement for low emissions farming techniques and plans to regulate to minimise pollution from the use of fertilisers.

We are committed to making sure that future agriculture schemes mean farmers businesses can work in harmony with the natural environment and ensure wildlife can be enjoyed by future generations.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha has urged those living in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to stay indoors as the city's air pollution reached unsafe levels.

Mr Attavanich said the country would face billions of baht in additional health costs unless the severe air pollution was tackled.

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"We must take strong, urgent action", environment minister Michael Gove said in a statement.

In February 2018, the government was defeated for the third-time running in the High Court ClientEarth over its air pollution plans.

Local authorities are cleaning the busiest roads with gallons of water and will spray water over the sky of greater Bangkok to try producing artificial rain.

Environmental health expert Sonthi Kotchawat has warned that PM2.5 is harmful because its very fine dust particles are small enough to pass through a person's lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Readings taken by 10 air quality stations around Bangkok showed PM2.5 levels in the city ranged between 70 and 100 µg/m³, the Bangkok Post reported.

"However, we're disappointed that it doesn't include a clear commitment to adopt the World Health Organization limits for particulate matter pollution in the upcoming Environment Bill".

Breathing dirty air is associated with a host of health problems, from asthma to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, and all too often it is the most vulnerable - children, older people and those from poorer backgrounds - who are hit hardest.

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