‘I Don’t Know What to Do’ About Smog: Bangkok Governor

A drone flies Thursday morning near City Hall and the Grand Swing in Bangkok. Inset, Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang in a Matichon photo.
A drone flies Thursday morning near City Hall and the Grand Swing in Bangkok. Inset, Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang in a Matichon photo.

BANGKOK — After deploying water cannons and drones to combat unhealthy smog that shows no sign of abating, Bangkok’s governor Thursday called an emergency expert meeting to discuss solutions to the surging pollution, saying “I don’t know what to do.”

City Hall this morning began flying 50 drones above the capital to spray water into the air in hope of decreasing levels of harmful ultrafine particles, a method that’s been repeated despite being dismissed as scientifically ineffective. After releasing the drones this morning, Gov. Aswin Kwanmuang said he had invited experts in relevant fields to a meeting today to tell him what should be done

“We thought it’s a good idea. That’s why we have been doing this,” he said about spraying water. “If we hadn’t done anything, we’d still be criticized for inaction. Should I do nothing if what we’ve done here doesn’t help at all?”

He then called out for ideas and suggestions.

“I’m speaking through my platform. All the experts out there, please come talk to me, give me suggestions. I’m the one dealing with the problem,” he said. “I don’t know what to do, that’s why I’ve invited them. Don’t just put your suggestions out in the wind.”

Yesterday, Aswin said the drones would spray molasses into the air, an idea so harshly ridiculed that City Hall backtracked hours later.

All schools in Bangkok and the metropolitan area have been ordered closed through Friday due to the heavy smog, which this morning was again at the high end of levels deemed unhealthy. Some universities including Thammasat, Suan Dusit Rajabhat and Silpakorn also canceled classes today and tomorrow.

Officials said levels of so-called PM2.5 particles in 19 locations throughout metro Bangkok this morning exceeded the acceptable density of 61 to 93 micrograms per cubic meter, with the highest density in the Rama II Road area in Samut Sakhon province and Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district.

Related stories:

Bangkok Schools Ordered Closed Due to Smog

Some Bangkok Schools Cancel Classes Due to Pollution

Rail Construction Halted, Drivers Fined as Smog Persists

Bangkok Pollution Has Always Been Bad – So Have the Solutions: Experts