Bangkok Faces up to Its Environmental Problems
by John Cooke
Bangkok’s Metropolitan Administration recently said it will launch a survey of the city’s estimated 5.5 million vehicles to decide how many are environmentally unfriendly and ought to be taken off the streets. This is one of several new measures to combat global warming proposed by Bangkok governor, Apirak Kosayothin. He has just returned from a high-level climate summit in New York, where city governors and mayors worldwide met to discuss how they could help to slow carbon dioxide emissions.
Several campaigns will shortly be launched in Bangkok including urging motorists to switch from fossil to alternative fuels, including recycled cooking oil, Mr. Aprirak said. He explained that many of the vehicles registered in Bangkok are equipped with old, environmentally inefficient engines that emit high levels of the carbon dioxide.
Mr. Aprirak also said he would launch a survey to find out how many vehicles are incapable of 'using clean energy' and how many could be taken off the road annually. Efforts to clean up the traffic pollution in Bangkok have often stalled after meeting with stiff political opposition. One major problem, for instance, would be the estimated 60,000 Tuk-Tuks. These high polluting vehicles have never been taken off the streets because of the fear of putting their drivers out of work.
Recently, to mark “World Environment Day,” Mr. Apirak participated in activities to attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Bangkok by 15% by 2012. He signed an agreement with the Federation of Thai Industries and three educational institutions to promote the proper separation of wastes, and initialed an agreement with Toshiba Lighting Co., to promote public cooperation in properly discarding fluorescent bulbs so to preserve the environment. He also joined with officials of Bangkok’s Metropolitan Administration in planting 80 trees at Chatuchak Park, and presided over the opening of a garden on the outskirts of Bangkok, where 1,000 trees will be planted.