Apirak to get tough on Bangkok pollution
'Ambitious' plan calls for greening, conservation and traffic measures
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin yesterday announced his target to reduce carbon emissions in Thailand's capital by 15 per cent in the next five years in response to growing concerns over global warming, which is the theme of this year's United Nations' World Environ-ment Day.
Scientists, while describing the goal as "ambitious", praised Apirak's initiative as it was the first time a Thai politician had come forward to set a target to reduce carbon emissions that are a major culprit in global warming.
Apirak released a draft action plan for Bangkok that contained both soft and harsh measures such as planting trees, retro-fitting buildings with more energy efficient lighting and cooling systems, promoting carpools, re-newable energy and mass transit systems and preventing vehicles without passengers to enter traffic congestion areas.
"In the past four decades, the average temperature in Bangkok has increased by two degrees Celsius," Apirak said. "About 24 per cent of green house gas emissions in Thailand are from Bang-kok. Global warming has become an important issue for us in the urban sector, so we must to take the lead in tackling the problem."
The plan, now being released for feedback for 60 days, is set to be modified and implemented by August, Apirak said.
Scientists and academics yesterday urged the government and funding agencies to give more financial support for studies on the typical impacts of global warming and to increase the country's capacity to tackle the problems.
Speaking at a national event to commemorate World Envi-ronment Day, Anond Snidvongs of Chulalongkorn University, said although the government was aware the country had been hit by global warming, it had not done enough.
"We know that severe drought and floods, as well as the fluctuation of climate conditions are impacts of global warming, but the government does nothing more than give relief to the people hit by the natural disasters," he said.
Anond, who has spent more than a decade studying climate change and global warming, referred to the government's lack of budget in tackling drought and flood problems.
Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a geography lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, supported Anond saying the country still lacked a true understanding of the impact of rising temperatures.
"The IPCC [Intergovern-mental Panel on Climate Change] only presented the overview of the impact on the whole world. It is our job to draw the possible scenarios of the problem on our country," he said, referring to the United Nations' panel of scientists.
For Thanawat, the study on possible impacts on the agriculture sector, particularly in rice bowl areas of the country such as the Chao Phya and Tha Chin deltas, is needed as it would relate to food security of the country.