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Thai air pollution crisis spiralling out of control

Government’s ‘command-and-control’ mentality only gives the appearance of a response, but little is actually done.

There is no way of putting it, say leading academics, other than that this government is ill-equipped to stop the air pollution crisis from spiralling out of control. Despite proclamations, like Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa’s goal to solve the PM2.5 problem by 2022, the policy-making culture seems to be blind to what nature is telling us. Instead, lawmakers downplay threats to human health, allowing conflicts of interest to overshadow meaningful advances toward solutions.

Asst Prof Surat Bualert, dean of Kasetsart University’s Environment Faculty, says the data for Bangkok‘s air quality reveals we are entering a new era. The volume of PM2.5, or fine dust particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres, that exceed safe levels are lingering in the air longer than ever before.

“Their ongoing presence creates more unpredictability at a time when the changing climate may also be contributing to extreme weather events, like the prolonged stagnation that fuelled Bangkok’s pollution crisis this year,” he said.

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