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News Forum - Phuket’s air quality under threat as haze season approaches


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Grey skies are looming over Thailand’s popular tourist destination of Phuket despite the air quality remaining at a moderate level during the first week of January. The Pollution Control Department (PCD) has already flagged concerns as predictions suggest the annual haze might arrive earlier than expected this year. According to the World Air Quality Index project (AQICN), … …

The story Phuket’s air quality under threat as haze season approaches as seen on Thaiger News.

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I'm an air pollution expert in Thailand who lives in Phuket and this is a well-written article that is missing some important details that anyone wouldn't know unless they lived here.

(1) Air pollution in Phuket also includes transboundary PM2.5 from China. If you look at Air Visual, you'll see that winds originating in heavily-polluted Bejing, blow across the sea, over S. Vietnam and Cambodia who also open burn, to Phuket. 

(2) Phuket has open-trash burning. So does Thailand. No one talks about how the gov't doesn't provide waste collection to residents which results in concentrations of toxic smog containing dioxins, furans, and PoP's. I regularly see open trash burning in the Kathu region.

(3) Pollution from traffic in Phuket is a HUGE source. The Phuket gov't has resisted building a BTS skytrain from the airport to the city center for at least 10 years. Meanwhile, since 2014, Thailand has gone through an American-style car-ification. Now Phuket's roads are some of the deadliest roads in the world because there are too many cars as a result of there being no convenient public transportation to get around this narrow-roaded island of a million mountains. Intersections are the deadliest because 3-minute stoplights force drivers to burn out like a drag race as the greenlight, by comparison, is only 15-30 seconds long. A few weeks ago there was a Russian facedown on the road.

SOLUTION: Micro Mobility:
If Thai authorities want to get rich from making Phuket "a family island for rich WEsterners" then they need to prioritize road safety, create 15-Minute cities with a focus on micro-mobility, enforce a single-use plastic ban, enforce no burn laws, and put police officers on the streets to enforce traffic laws to the rich thais in cars, not only to the soft targets (ie tourist on motorbike rentals).

Bangkok Thai Billionaires and the centralized Thai government to control this entire country don't understand that you can't develop Thailand like the USA. Thailand is a small historic country about 75% the size of Texas with 70 million people, no waste management, no law enforcement, and no smog checks on vehicles. 
Instead, authorities need Thailand to be developed like Amsterdam with bicycle infrastructure, light rail, pedestrian paths, as well as underground paths for bike and pedestrians to get around when it's raining. Below is a concept for a phuket BTS train. spacer.png

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