Campaigners demand Thailand act on air pollution
A group of academics and activists called Thailand Clean Air Network (CAN) sent an open letter and a suggested bill to the government, pleading with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to take immediate action to alleviate the 'pain and suffering inflicted on the Thai public'
FP Staff November 13, 2023 16:01:37 IST
Vehicles sit in traffic on a busy road amid high levels of air pollution in Bangkok. AFP File
A “clean air act” must be passed immediately, according to campaigners, as Thailand gets ready for its yearly peak pollution season.
A group of academics and activists called Thailand Clean Air Network (CAN) sent an open letter and a suggested bill to the government, pleading with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to take immediate action to alleviate the “pain and suffering inflicted on the Thai public”.
The health ministry reports that over two million people sought medical attention for issues related to air pollution.
Citing a lack of collaboration amongst ministries, CAN cautioned Srettha in its letter that “responsible government agencies are unable to effectively manage this problem”.
“There are no management systems in place to address this issue in a fully integrated manner, and as such, state agencies are continuously stuck in a vicious cycle, fixated in addressing only the repercussions of the problem,” the letter said.
A draft clean air bill is expected to be put to cabinet this month, but CAN warned that without Srettha’s endorsement, there was little chance of any proposal becoming law.
Emissions from industry, along with vehicle exhaust fumes and smoke from stubble burning by farmers, send air quality plummeting in Thailand every year.
The worst pollution period is usually from December to February — coinciding with the peak tourist season — but an unexpected spike in Bangkok last month brought hurried promises of action from officials.