Bangkok is polluted, the smoke filled air from the early morning commuters with their cars, coming from their brand new condos, making their way to work serve to highlight the dramatic contamination levels this city has reached. Recent news from the Pollution Control Department that Bangkok’s air has reached critical levels can only confound worry. Bangkok people have learnt to put up with the pollution and ignore the three main worries associated with it; new high rise buildings, abundance of cars and filthy air. These factors will be classified in this essay.
The first factor is the brand new condos and apartments line every street in Bangkok these days. These new building have sprouted out of the ground to collect more people into a smaller areas of Bangkok. The sad fact is, there are little or no zoning laws. These seductively built premises neatly situated within eyeshot of major thoroughfares maybe appealing for the commuter belt brigade of workers but on already congested toll ways, roads and little sois, there really is no room for 50 or more families in their sparkling new condos. There are definitely signs of an oversupply of condos in Bangkok. The Government has noticed this too and has dropped the bank lending of 100% to only 90% of apartments less than 10 million baht which had made it too enticing for speculators but this will not stop the builders as they change tack and move into other avenues to entice more people into Bangkok.
Another factor is that there is no day off for traffic. Cars and buses clog the city twenty four seven. Benzene levels over Bangkok are well over the general limit. Medical studies have proved that long exposure to benzene exposure brings on cancer but this information must be kept quiet. Euro 4, one of the benzene petrol distributors have said they will try to reduce the levels of benzene emissions from 3.5% to 1%. This in itself is a great idea but what about the past and Bangkok’s contact with the smog that envelopes the city everyday. To compound the problem, these Bangkok people keep buying new cars. The roads are littered with red number plates, even with all the expense car ownership incurs; as long traffic jams every morning still grow larger. Bangkokians still continue to see their motors as prestige items.
One last aspect of pollution is the air which may seem clean to Bangkokians, some of them actually think their level of pollution is normal, but the air is not clean, dust particles lay in the atmosphere. These dust particles which can only be measured in microns of measurement that float around exceed the normal rate of air quality. Ozone levels were also found to be 0.2 percent higher than normal and volatile organic compounds were double the normal rate. Most of the 6.7 million residents are taking this air in. Plants and vegetation should help this but with not that many green areas the plants can’t give off air to cleanse and cool the area while the temperature keep rising. This heat is added to by the concrete building which retain their heat so Bangkok is still hot at night.
To conclude, there are many examples of the ways Bangkok is becoming more polluted. The truth is the Government should wake up to the dangers of air pollution but with the sheer vast amount of traffic on the streets of Bangkok it is going to a hard task. They have started the underground and BTS which unluckily invites construction but expansion of this transportation seems a distant dream and the sad aspect, Bangkok people must have given up on that vision too.