Candidates urged to stop giving lip-service to issues and take action
Nobody has come up with a clear policy to tackle pollution and garbage, environmentalist saysBangkok has been growing at an amazing rate, and with that expansion, it is getting more and more polluted. Yet, the Bangkok gubernatorial candidates seem to be overlooking this problem and placing greater emphasis on populist policies.
Over the past decade, the capital has had condominiums springing up on almost every road, a massive number of cars on the streets spewing pollution and causing traffic jams, not the mention the overwhelming garbage spreading foul odours. Yet nobody has come up with a clear policy on tackling these problems.
So far, the candidates only seem to have incorporated environment policies half-heartedly for the sake of keeping up with trends, Srisuwan Janya, chairman of the Stop Global Warming Association, said.
He added that Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra only outlined a policy to increase green areas in the capital by 5,000 rai, but provided no concrete measures to achieve this plan. Also, none of the candidates have talked about what they will be doing to reduce pollution or dust, which has exceeded the limit for several years now, affecting public health and well being.
Also, no previous governors have been able to handle the problem of garbage. No additional landfill sites have been named other than the existing stations in Onnut, Nong Khaem and Sai Mai. According to the Department of Environment, Bangkok produces 9,237 tonnes of garbage daily.
He also said that nobody has come up with a plan to deal with water pollution, for instance the foul-smelling Saen Saeb canal.
"Most election campaign policies are not backed up with concrete achievable measures. They are just populist policies or flowery phrases like 'I will take care of Bangkok people'," Srisuwan said.
Wichian Jungrungraung, Pollution Control Department's director general, said the new governor could solve the pollution problem in Bangkok by strictly implementing the five-year operation to control noise and air pollution, which has been in place since 2012.
"All the new governor needs to do is translate the plan into action. That should be good enough. But the problem is the plan has never been carried out," he said.
He also admitted that implementing the plan was not only up to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, but also the Land Transport Department, the Traffic Police Division, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning as well as the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority.
He said the plan features proactive measures such as cracking down on vehicles releasing black smoke and establishing limits to how many years a vehicle can be used.
Also, construction sites must be covered up to control the dispersal of dust and traffic jams reduced by offering more mass-transit options to commuters. He added the factories in Bangkok should be removed to other areas and more trees should be planted around the city.
He admitted that a sharp increase in the condominiums and traffic congestion is being caused by a rapidly rising population and warned that this unplanned urbanisation will only result further pollution as well as excessive garbage.
However, he said, the proposal given to the Office of National Environment Board to declare Bangkok a pollution-control zone was not needed yet because the issue needs to be further studied.
"To declare any place pollution-control area is not a formula for success that will improve the situation. If we issue strict measures and get cooperation from the public, we can achieve certain levels of success," he said.