The Accelerating Car Culture
As Asia undergoes swift economic growth and urbanization, Bangkok offers a prime example of a typical major city that is worsening its pollution, especially that from motor vehicles. The increase in Bangkok’s motor vehicle fleet is particularly rapid. For instance, motorcycles and other registered vehicles multiplied from 600,000 in 1980 to 2.7 million in 1993, a 4.5-fold increase in a mere 10-odd years. Because that number accounts for one-fourth of all Thailand’s motor vehicles, Bangkok’s streets are jammed not just in the morning and evening, but all day long. The fleet has since continued to increase quickly, with 600,000 new vehicles sold in 1996. A difference with other developed countries is that 46% of Bangkok’s vehicles are two-wheeled, and at least 90% of those have two-stroke engines, which means that the city’s traffic jams and vehicle exhaust fumes generate appalling air pollution. Serious pollutants include airborne particulates, hydrocarbons (HCs), and lead. A recent survey showed that Bangkok’s 24-hour average in 1994 for particulates exceeded Thailand’s 330 μg/m3 standard at all roadside monitoring stations.
KeywordsMotor Vehicle Airborne Particulate Vehicle Ownership Unleaded Gasoline Public Transit System
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