Saturday, December 26, 2015

Clean Air...Bangkok is Number 1

Staying home today due to my cold so I have time to do some posting.  In the news today, the big mango is rated the cleanest big city in terms of air pollution according to a recent study by Airports and Hotels Website,   Lots of credit goes to the aggressive efforts over the last decade or so by clean air activists groups suing the BMA to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on the streets.  The BMA has also done a lot in terms of encouraging mass transit and less polluting forms of transportation.

I remember the very first time I visited the big mango.  The diesel buses, motorcycles, and tut-tuts, were spewing so much black smoke you could cut it with a knife.  Traffic police began wearing masks (those were the days when they really needed them for breathing protection and not to conceal their faces lke today).  There was always a film of black sooth on my windows.  Then, it started to change.

The Skytrain and MTR were put into service, newer buses started rolling on the streets, cleaner 4 stroke motorcycles replaced the old ones, and they somehow even cleaned up the Tut-Tuts as well.  An additional factor may be that Thailand has many more newer cars on the road.  These newer cars are cleaner and must undergo an inspection after 6 years.  Because so many of these cars are made in Thailand, there seems to be a trend to trade-in the older cars for newer ones fairly often. The older cars don't always stay in Thailand as I think most are sold by brokers to neighboring countries and thus they have exported the problems elsewhere.  Now, unless there is some kind of atmospheric inversion, the air in the big mango is pretty nice for a big city of 14 million people, counting the suburbs and surrounding areas.

If the stats are correct, its actually healthier in the big mango (air quality wise)  than San Francisco!  I'm sure there are pockets in the mango where too much traffic during rush hour drives the index up, but the overall index is what is measured.

Now if they can only address the problem of traffic jams....  

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