Statistical Data of Fire Incidents During COVID-19 Pandemic

October 18, 2021
Chata Ittivatana

Statistical Data of Fire Incidents During COVID-19 Pandemic

Conclusion

  • Fire incidents keep occurring during COVID-19 pandemic although some industries reduce production capacity.
  • Damages from fire in year 2020 is two times higher in year 2019.
  • The fire incident occurred during the absence of workers for more than 70%.
  • Most common cause of fire incidents comes from short circuit.

          As you are aware of COVID-19 pandemic, this pandemic has been happening since the end of the year 2018. Many companies were interrupted during this period. However, production sectors operate continually so the risk of the accident remains in the industry.

          The statistical data from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Thailand shows about fire incidents in 2019. The cost of the damage caused by the fire was about 25 million USD in 2020 which was two times higher than 2019 (In 2019, the cost of damage was 14 million USD), even though the number of fire incidents in 2019 (1,312 times) was higher than 2020 (1,248 times).

Figure 1: Statistic data from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Thailand

          From the past fire incidents, the cost of each fire from industry business is higher than 10 million baht (around 0.3 million USD). It can imply that fire in the industry is more severe and losses. The statistical data from the Department of Industrial Works shows that fire incidents occurred 42 times in 2018 and 46 times in 2019. The most frequent type of industry that fire incidents occurred are the maintenance, metal casting, warehouse, plastic, foam, paper, and rubber industries. Moreover, the statistical data from the insurance sector recorded that the fire incident occurred during the absence of workers for more than 70%. During that period, the number of observers is less than a working hour. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, some factories control the number of personnel in each area. Therefore, fire watch in blind spot might insufficient. The response for fire incidents can be delayed which can cause extreme fire incidents. The examples below are the examples of fire incidents occurred during COVID-19 which the fire incidents caused damages for industry business.

Incident case 1: September 23, 2019

          A fire incident occurred at 8:00 P.M. at the pulp warehouse, Chonburi province. The warehouse was covered with fire because the warehouse kept more than 3,000 tons of pulp. The pulp is the fuel to help the fire spread. Due to fire, it makes roof structure of warehouse collapse. Firefighting was using high-pressure water to extinguish the fire, removed the pulp by using a backhoe and removed the gas cylinders to prevent the explosion. The fire was extinguished 18 hours later by 30 fire trucks. For the cause of the fire incident, the officer presumed that it came from cigarette butts then the flakes touched the pulp and catch fire. From this fire incident, the cost of damage is about 60 million baht (1.8 million USD).

Incident case 2: September 30, 2020

At 10:00 P.M., there was fire incident occurred at the manufacture of furniture located in Amata City Pluak Daeng Industrial Estate, Rayong Province. More than 20 fire trucks were used for firefighting. The fire spread rapidly because there were many woods stored inside the factory. The fire was extinguished for more than 3 hours and fire awareness was still conducted in case of the fire reignition. For the cause of the incident, factory’s staff said that the fire started to occur at the hot-cold water dispenser. Then the fire spread to paper boxes and other combustible materials nearby the scene. The staff presumed that the cause was the short circuit of the hot-cold water dispenser. From this fire incident, the cost of damage is more than 70 million baht (2 million USD).

Incident case 3: December 2, 2020

At 11:20 P.M., there was fire incident occurred at warehouse for chemical storage. The chemical is Sodium Hydrogen Sulfide. This chemical is used for food preservatives, paper production, bleaching, soap, etc. A high quantity of chemicals was stored inside the warehouse which the fire explosion occurred continuously. More than 10 fire trucks were used for extinguishing the fire but the fire could not be controlled. Therefore, firefighting officers used foam to extinguish the fire. The fire was extinguished for more than 2 hours. From the investigation, the factory owner said that the staff was transporting the chemical tanks inside the warehouse. During the transportation, there were sparks at the chemical tanks. The factory owner presumed that fire came from sparks at chemical tanks which are metal tanks. From this fire incident, the cost of damage is more than 10 million baht (0.3 million USD). From the mentioned fire incidents occurred in the industries, the incidents caused large amount of damage. The most common cause of fire incidents comes from tiny sparks and then it was widely spread, especially during the absence of workers. Therefore, fire safety audit and inspection are a necessity for the fire prevention. It can help workers to aware of the risks that they might overlook such as electrical inspection, chemical transportation, chemical storage, proper fire extinguishing equipment, and housekeeping in the working area. References http://statbbi.nso.go.th/staticreport/page/sector/th/21.aspx http://direct.disaster.go.th/inner.directing-7.191/cms/inner_1733/5025.3/ https://www.mreport.co.th/news/government-news/333-accident-in-factory-thailand-2020 http://reg3.diw.go.th/safety/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/accident-2563.pd fhttp://www.rtrc.in.th/ewt_dl.php?nid=1588 https://tna.mcot.net/region-545159 https://mgronline.com/local/detail/9630000097279 https://www.newtv.co.th/news/65461 https://www.thairath.co.th/news/local/east/1942951 https://hilight.kapook.com/view/206946 https://thaiza.com/news/local/481742/ https://www.siamsafety.com/index.php?page=news/news03122020_2 https://www.thairath.co.th/news/local/central/1988616 MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. is a MS&AD Insurance Group company specialized in risk management survey research and consulting services. For inquiry about consultation and seminar etc. for companies expanding business in Thailand, please feel free to contact the nearest Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance or Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance sales representatives. MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. International Section, Corporate Planning Department TEL.03-5296-8920 http://www.irric.co.jp InterRisk Asia (Thailand) is a MS&AD Insurance Group company which was established in Thailand to provide risk management services, such as fire safety, flood risk management, electrical safety and risk consulting services, such as automotive risk assessment, occupational safety and burglary risk survey to our clients in Thailand. For inquiry, please feel free to contact us. InterRisk Asia (Thailand) Co., Ltd. 175 Sathorn City Tower, South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand TEL: +66-(0)-2679-5276 FAX: +66-(0)-2679-5278
The purpose of this report is to provide our customers with the useful information for the occupational safety and health management. There is no intention to criticize any individuals and parties etc.
Copyright 2019 MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thailand Current Water Situation

October 11, 2021
Masaki Sato

Thailand Current Water Situation

Summary

  • The National Water Command provided flood warning to Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathumthani during 7-10 October.
  • Tropical storm “LIONROCK” will become stronger and ashore on upper Vietnam during 10-11 October. This storm may affect northern, northeastern, and central Thailand after 11th
  • The water storage levels of the Sirikit dam and Bhumibol dam are about 50%. Then, both dams still have room to store water and can control river flows.
  • The water storage level of the Pasak dam and Kwaenoi dam has almost reached the upper control level. The amount of water to be released from the dams will increase which may cause a rise in the river water level.
  • The water level of the lower Chao Phraya River has reached “Critical” level at almost all observation points.ฃ
  • Until mid-October, the effects of the tropical storm “LIONROCK” and the water level of the Chao Phraya River should be monitored closely.

Warning announcement from the National Water Command

The flood warning was provided to Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathumthani by the National Water Command as there would be water passing Bangsai district in Ayutthaya at the maximum rate of 3,050-3,150 m3/second in the Chao Phraya River. The water would flow to the Gulf of Thailand during 7-10 October. During 7-10 October, the sea level would be rising which would cause the water level in the Chao Phraya River to be 30-50 cm higher. The warned areas include the Chaophraya riverside lowlands outside flood dike in Nonthaburi and Pathumthani and areas without dike installation on both sides of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

Weather Forecast

Thai Meteorological Department announced that a tropical storm “LIONROCK” in the middle South China Sea having a speed of 55 km/hr is expected to become stronger and ashore on upper Vietnam during 10-11 October. This storm may affect northern, northeastern, and central Thailand after 11th October.

Precipitation

  • The figures below show: (left) the difference in cumulative rainfall from the normal (the average rainfall of the last 30 years) for 1st January to 1st September 2021, (center) the difference in cumulative rainfall from the normal for 1st January to 7th October 2021, and (right) the cumulative rainfall for 1st January to 7th October 2021.
  • Comparing the left figure with the center figure below, it can be observed that the western part of northeastern Thailand (Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima), the southern part of northern Thailand (Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani), and the northern part of central Thailand (Lopburi, Singburi, Chainat, etc.) experienced heavy rainfall from September to early October, and the cumulative rainfall since 1st January has been much higher than normal (see the area circled in red on the figures below).
  • In Rayong and Chanthaburi in eastern Thailand, the cumulative rainfall since 1st January has been about 500mm above normal.

Dam Storage Level (Sirikit Dam, Bhumibol Dam)

Storage level Sirikit Dam (45%): as of 7 October 2021  *43% as of 26 September 2021

Storage level Bhumibol Dam (51%): as of 7 October 2021  *45% as of 26 September 2021

The water storage levels of the Sirikit dam and the Bhumibol dam have increased by 2% and 6% respectively since 26th September. At the beginning of October 2011, when the major flood occurred, the storage volume of both dams had almost reached the upper control level. Comparing the storage volume as of October 7th 2011 and 2021, the storage volume in Sirikit Dam is 9,409m3 in 2011 while 4,268m3 in 2021 (45%), and that in Bhumibol Dam is 13,307m3 in 2011 while 6,929m3 in 2021 (52%). Both dams still have room to store water and can control river flows even when heavy rains occur in northern Thailand.

Dam Storage Level (Pasak Dam, Kwaenoi Dam)

Storage level Pasak Dam (95%): as of 7 October 2021  *73% as of 26 September 2021

Storage level Kwaenoi Dam (95%): as of 7 October 2021  *83% as of 26 September 2021

The storage level of the Pasak dam and Kwaenoi dam has almost reached the upper control level. These dams also reached this level in mid-September 2011. The amount of water to be released from the dams will increase to reduce their storage volume, which will cause a rise in the water level of the river.

The Upper Chao Phraya River Flow

The water level in the upper Chao Phraya River basin has slightly increased since 27th September. The water levels of the Yom River, Nan River and at the confluence of the four rivers continue to reach “critical” level.

Water Situation in the Chao Phraya River

7th October 2021

Note: – Numbers in bracket indicate the flow rate of water in m3/sec. – Numbers with underline indicate higher (+) or lower (-) of water level than the river bank in meters. – Water levels U/S and D/S are in meters.

The Lower Chao Phraya River Flow

The water level in the lower basin of the Chao Phraya River has been also increasing since 27th September. The Chao Phraya River and the Pasak River are flooding in Ayutthaya and Saraburi, respectively. The water levels at almost all observation points are “Critical”.

Water Situation in the Chao Phraya River

7th October 2021

Note: – Numbers in black indicate the flow rate of water in m3/sec. – Numbers in bracket the flow rate of water in m3/day. – Numbers with underline indicate higher (+) or lower (-) of water level than the river bank in meters. References https://www.tmd.go.th/list_warning.php http://www.arcims.tmd.go.th/dailydata/yearRain.php http://www.thaiwater.net/water/dam/large http://water.rid.go.th/flood/plan_new/chaophaya/Chao_up.php?cal2=01092021 http://water.rid.go.th/flood/plan_new/chaophaya/Chao_low.php?cal2=01092021 MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. is a MS&AD Insurance Group company specialized in risk management survey research and consulting services. For inquiry about consultation and seminar etc. for companies expanding business in Thailand, please feel free to contact the nearest Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance or Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance sales representatives. MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. International Section, Corporate Planning Department TEL.03-5296-8920 http://www.irric.co.jp InterRisk Asia (Thailand) is a MS&AD Insurance Group company which was established in Thailand to provide risk management services, such as fire safety, flood risk management, electrical safety and risk consulting services, such as automotive risk assessment, occupational safety and burglary risk survey to our clients in Thailand. For inquiry, please feel free to contact us. InterRisk Asia (Thailand) Co., Ltd. 175 Sathorn City Tower, South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand TEL: +66-(0)-2679-5276 FAX: +66-(0)-2679-5278
The purpose of this report is to provide our customers with the useful information for the occupational safety and health management. There is no intention to criticize any individuals and parties etc.

Copyright 2019 MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Heavy rains and flooding caused by tropical storm “Dianmu”

October 4, 2021
Masaki Sato

Heavy rains and flooding caused by tropical storm “Dianmu”

Summary

  • Last weekend, the tropical storm “Dianmu” brought heavy rain to the north, northeast, and central of Thailand.
  • According to the department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), 58,977 households across 27 provinces have been affected by flood due to the heavy rain in mid-September and the tropical storm “Dianmu”.
  • Sukhothai province in the north and Lopburi province in the central region have been severely damaged according to the DDPM announcement.
  • The water levels at major dams in the upper Chao Phraya River basin have rapidly increased.
The water level of the Chao Phraya River has reached “Critical” level at several observation points. If the amount of water released from the dams increases in the future, the water level in the Chao Phraya River may further increase.

Rainfall brought by the tropical storm “Dianmu”

Tropical storm “Dianmu” turned into a low-pressure on September 25, thus not all rainfall is exactly due to the tropical storm. However, it is described as an effect of “Dianmu” in this news. Tropical storm “Dianmu” caused heavy rainfall mainly in northern, northeastern and central Thailand from around 23rd to 26th September. The observed daily rainfall maps on 24th, 25th, and 26th are shown in the figure below. On 24th and 25th September, daily rainfall of 100 mm to 200 mm was observed in northern, northeastern, central, and eastern Thailand.

Damage by flooding

According to DDPM, 7,392 households have been affected by severe flood in Sukhothai province in northern Thailand, while 37,451 and 453 households have been damaged in Lopburi province and Chaiyaphum province respectively in central region. The figure below shows a map of flooded areas for the past seven days (September 21 to September 27) published by the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA). According to the map, other than the above three provinces, flooding has also occurred in Phitsanulok, Phichit, Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachinburi, and Ayutthaya provinces. In Nakhon Ratchasima province, the provincial government has issued a warning because the water volume in some reservoirs has exceeded their capacity.

Weather Forecast

Thai Meteorological Department announced that: “During 28-30 Sep, the weak monsoon trough lie across the lower Central and the upper South while the weak southwest monsoon prevails over the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand. Less rain is likely over Thailand but still isolated heavy rain in the East and the South. During 1 – 3 Oct, the weak monsoon trough will move up to lie across the North, the Northeast, the upper Central and the East. The southwest monsoon prevails over the Andaman Sea, Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand will strengthen. More rain is likely over Thailand and isolated heavy rain in the East and the South.”

Dam Storage Level (Sirikit Dam, Bhumibol Dam)

Storage level Sirikit Dam (43%): as of 26 September 2021 Storage level Bhumibol Dam (45%): as of 26 September 2021 The water storage levels of Sirikit dam and Bhumibol dam have increased by 5% and 11% respectively since 1st September due to the rainfall in early to mid-September and the tropical storm “Dianmu”. It is possible that the storage levels of both dams will continue to increase. However, at present, the water storage levels are less than half of the level in 2011 when a major flood occurred.

Dam Storage Level (Pasak Dam, Kwaenoi Dam)

Storage level Pasak Dam (73%): as of 1 September 2021 Storage level Kwaenoi Dam (83%): as of 1 September 2021 The water storage levels of Pasak dam and Kwaenoi dam have rapidly increased by 67% and 55% respectively since 1st September due to the rainfall in early to mid-September and the tropical storm “Dianmu”. The water level in Pasak Dam usually spikes in September. This year, due to tropical cyclone Dianmu, the water level has almost reached the upper control level. For Kwaenoi dam, the water level has also alomost reached the upper control level and is approximately 85% of the water level in 2011.

The Upper Chao Phraya River Flow

The water flow in the upper Chaophraya River basin has rapidly increased since 1st September. River flooding have occurred between Sukhothai and Phichit. The water level of Wang River, Nan River, and at the confluence of the four rivers have reached “Critical” level.

Water Situation in the Chao Phraya River

27th September 2021

Note: – Numbers in bracket indicate the flow rate of water in m3/sec. – Numbers with underline indicate higher (+) or lower (-) of water level than the river bank in meters. – Water levels U/S and D/S are in meters.

The Lower Chao Phraya River Flow

The water level in the lower basin of the Chaophraya River has been also increasing rapidly. River flooding has occurred in Utai Thani and the water levels at several observation points are “Critical”. However, the water flow is still under the control in most areas.

Water Situation in the Chao Phraya River

27th September 2021

Note: – Numbers in black indicate the flow rate of water in m3/sec. – Numbers in bracket the flow rate of water in m3/day. – Numbers with underline indicate higher (+) or lower (-) of water level than the river bank in meters. References https://mgronline.com/local/detail/9640000095509h ttps://floodlist.com/asia/thailand-tropical-storm-dianmu-floods-september-2021 http://flood.gistda.or.th/ https://www.tmd.go.th/en/7-day_forecast.php http://www.arcims.tmd.go.th/dailydata/DailyRain.php http://www.arcims.tmd.go.th/dailydata/yearRain.php http://www.thaiwater.net/water/dam/large http://water.rid.go.th/flood/plan_new/chaophaya/Chao_up.php?cal2=27092021 http://water.rid.go.th/flood/plan_new/chaophaya/Chao_low.php?cal2=27092021 InterRisk Asia (Thailand) is a MS&AD Insurance Group company which was established in Thailand to provide risk management services, such as fire safety, flood risk management, electrical safety and risk consulting services, such as automotive risk assessment, occupational safety and burglary risk survey to our clients in Thailand. For inquiry, please feel free to contact us. InterRisk Asia (Thailand) Co., Ltd. 175 Sathorn City Tower, South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek, Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand TEL: +66-(0)-2679-5276 FAX: +66-(0)-2679-5278 The purpose of this report is to provide our customers with the useful information for the occupational safety and health management. There is no intention to criticize any individuals and parties etc.

Copyright 2021 MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Tropical Storm Noul Approaching Thailand

September 21, 2020
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

Tropical storm noul path Thailand

Tropical Storm Noul Approaching Thailand

Summary

  • Typhoon from Category 3 Tropical Storm Noul could reach Thailand as early as this Friday 18th of September, according to TMD (Thai Meteorological Department).
  • Torrential rain is expected with strong winds starting from the Northeast, then reaching the North, Central, East and South of Thailand respectively.
  • Areas with low elevations could risk flash floods and water runoff from the severe rainfall.
  • Recommendation to factories are to secure buildings for wind and storm damages, while closely monitoring the news for further updates.

Forecast

  • At 10:00 am 17th September, the storm is due 600 km northeast of Vietnam with sustained winds of 80 km/hour, and travelling at 20 km/hour and expected to intensify.
  • In the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the wind waves will be stronger with the waves 2-3 meters high in the Andaman Sea, about 2 meters high in the Gulf of Thailand.
[caption id="attachment_2785" align="aligncenter" width="893"] Expected track of tropical storm Noul (Source: TMD)[/caption]

Affected Provinces

Very heavy rain (over 90 mm/hour) and heavy rain (over 35 mm/hour) are forecasted by TMD in many provinces from 18th to 20th September as follows.
North: Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Phetchabun North: Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Phayao, Nan, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phetchabun North: Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Tak, Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet
Northeast: Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Roi Et, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Surin, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani Northeast: Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Roi Et, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Surin, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani Northeast: Nil
Central: Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Saraburi, Lop Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani. Central: Kanchanaburi, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Nakhon Sawan, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Bangkok Central: Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Uthai Thani, Suphanburi, Chainat
East: Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat. East: Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat East: Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat
South: Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Satun South: Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Satun South: Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi

References

https://www.windy.com/?15.813,74.795,5 https://www.tmd.go.th/en/list_warning.php https://reliefweb.int/report/thailand/weather-warning-category-2-tropical-depression-middle-south-china-sea-no-2-time

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Part 2

June 18, 2020
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

– Eliminate poverty within 2070. At present, the income lower than $1.90 per day is used as an indicator. – Equal access to economic resources, including basic need and land ownership – Build immunity to natural disaster, economic, and political crisis. – By creating warranty of significant resource assemble from different sources – By creating optimal scope of country, regional and international policies, based on a pro-poor strategy – Eliminate hunger and access to food safety and nutrition within 2070. – Eliminate all kinds of Malnutrition – Increase in agricultural products and in income of small food producers to be twice, including equal access to land property, resources, import factors, knowledge, financial management and value-adding opportunity. – By investing in rural and agricultural research and development – By preventing trade barrier in agricultural trade world – By allow access to food market information and eliminating food price fluctuation

– Reduce maternal mortality ratio worldwide to be less than 70 per 100,000 within 2070. – Eliminate infant mortality rate (IMR) to 12 per 1,000 and under 5 mortality rate (U5MR) to 25 per 1,000 within 2070. – Eliminate AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and neglected tropical diseases. – Reduce one-third of untimely death from NCDs by supporting good metal health and well-being within 2070. – Promote prevention of using drugs and alcohol. – Reduce road accident death. – Access to reproductive health information – Fulfill the universal health care coverage. – Reduce death and sickness from dangerous chemicals and pollution – By proceeding under the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control – By funding vaccines and medicine R&D – By investing more on healthcare and developing medical staff – By increasing potential in healthcare warning and risk management

– Free quality basic education (elementary/secondary) – Sufficient access to quality elementary education – Access to affordable and quality basic techniques, vocational and undergraduate study. – Increase skilled youths and adults for employment. – Eliminate gender inequality in education and ensure that fragile group: disabled, tribes and children have equal access to education. – Assure that high proportion of youths and adults, both male and female are literate. – Assure that all students are well-educated and trained with skills for sustainable development. – By improving educational devices to suit all groups of people – By expanding scholarship worldwide and IT and science vocational training – By increasing number of quality teachers

– Eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls around the world. – Eliminate all forms of violence to women and girls in public, including human trafficking and sexual violence. – Eliminate all harmful practices such as forced and early marriage. – Acknowledge and value unpaid care and domestic work and promote of shared responsibilities within the household and the family. -Assure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership in all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. – Assure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences. – By reform to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws – By enhancing the use of information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women – By applying and strengthening suitable policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

– Succeed in clean water access for everyone. – Succeed in adequate sanitation and terminate outdoor excretion. – Improve water quality by reducing pollution, stop littering, reduce non-treated water to half and increase the reuse of water. – Improve water using efficiency to relief water shortage. – Improve holistic water management. – Protect and restore water ecosystem. – By expanding international cooperation to increase capability for developing country regarding water and sanitation – By promoting and strengthening in community involvement in water management – Ensure the access to new affordable and reliable energy services. – Increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. – Improve energy utilization efficiency. – By enhancing international cooperation to facilitate the access to R&D of clean energy and renewable energy, including clean fossil energy and promoting investment in clean energy infrastructure and technology – By expanding infrastructure and developing technology to deliver the modern and sustainable energy services – Increase individual’s economic growth, especially increase the GDP of low-developing countries at least 7% per year. – Succeed in increasing productivity and economic values through technology and innovation. – Promote the policies that support productivity, employment, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and growth of SMEs. – Improve resources utilization and persevere to disconnect economic growth from environmental impairment. – Succeed in maximum employment and productivity with equality for all groups of people, including youths and disabled. – Reduce proportion of unemployed, uneducated and untrained youths. – Immediately and efficiently eliminate forced labor, slave labor, child labor and human trafficking. – Protect labor rights and promote safe working environment for all labors, including alien labors. – Create sustainable tourism policy to support employment, culture and local products. – Strengthen access to financial institutions and financial services. – By increasing Aid for Trade for developing countries – By following International Labor Organization (ILO) for child employment

– Develop quality, reliable sustainable infrastructure that is affordable and equal. – Promote inclusive and sustainable industry development. – Increase access to financial services for SMEs. – Enhance industrial infrastructure for sustainable and efficient resource utilization. – Increase science and innovation research – By promoting infrastructure in developing countries – By promoting technology and innovation development in developing countries. – By increasing access to information and internet References *1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goals *2: https://sdgmove.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/sdg-e0b881e0b8b1e0b89a-e0b881e0b8b2e0b8a3e0b89ee0b8b1e0b892e0b899e0b8b2e0b88ae0b8b8e0b8a1e0b88ae0b899e0b897e0b989e0b8ade0b887e0b896.pdf *3: http://e-plan.dla.go.th/activityImage/422.pdf

Introduction to Business Continuity in Thailand

June 17, 2020
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

What is Business Continuity Management?

Business Continuity Management (BCM) is the framework to counter the effects of crises and interruptions from external and internal risks to a business. The strategy consists of hard and soft assets for successful prevention and recovery. BCM can be part of a business’ risk management (RM) strategy. The term “Business Continuity” is, according to the ISO 22301 Standard, defined as the “capability of an organization to continue the delivery of products and services within acceptable time frames at predefined capacity during and after a disruption.” BCM covers disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management and contingency planning. The following Figure 1 shows the relationship between BCM, BCM, Disaster Recovery Planning, and Crisis Response.

What is Business Continuity Planning?

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a planning process that is part of BCM. The main purpose of a BCP is to address and mitigate all risks affecting a company’s business operations for managing and responding to risks, used for public, non-profit, non-government and private entities. Risk can include many incidents from cyber-attacks to natural disasters. Between 35 and 50 percent of businesses never recover after major disasters. These disruptions cause revenue loss and difficulty in recovery if no BCP or inadequate BCPs were implemented. Not all companies have business continuity planning, however this is quickly changing. BCP is now an important process that should be implemented across all industries.

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is an occurrence that needs response to minimize loss of life, property, environment and business operations. These could be human-caused, natural or technology-caused. A typical example of an emergency where BCP is used, is a fire incident that caused property loss. Other common emergencies include natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods, information security, product liability, long-term delay and suspension of product supplies, impacts of climate change, terrorism, political unrest etc. Planning for all possible disruptions is ideal, but most plans try to incorporate as many likely to occur main threats to the business as possible, depending on the type of industry and current global risk trend.

What is the difference between Emergency Planning and BCP?

Emergency planning and business continuity planning play different roles for an effective risk strategy. In general, emergency plans cover response and reactions to the disruption, whereas BCPs deal with continuing the business following the disruption. A single business continuity plan may have many disaster recovery plans.

BCP Standards

Standards provide criteria to develop, implement, assess, and maintain the BCP program to cover prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, continuity, and recovery. Major standards are NFPA 1600, mainly used in the US, and ISO 22301, which is internationally used.

Components of BCP

There are 4 main components in BCP. The following is a brief description on how to conduct a BCP program: Understand: Understand your organization’s operations and hazards (risk assessment) and how disruptions affect them (Business Impact Analysis). Plan: implement and organize the strategies for recovery, allocating people to procedures, and documentation. A clear prevention plan is included. Improve: Exercising, testing and changing plans for review. Planning must be tested regularly for different risk scenarios for continuous improvement consistent with the entity’s policy, goals, and objectives. Audit activities are included. Train: All employees should be aware of such plan. [caption id="attachment_2670" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Your business could stop indefinitely if no BCP is in place.[/caption]

BCP in Thailand

In terms of preparedness, Thailand has no clear plan in business continuity on a national level. Most large corporations will already have BCPs as part of their risk management plan to comply with the company’s good business practice and risk policies. In addition, only businesses with direct disaster experience will have BCPs or partial BCPs in place. Much more awareness creation is needed. SMEs: 99% of Thai business enterprises are SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), which is defined as private organizations with less than 200 people. The Office of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP), under the Ministry of Industry, showed that there are 2.9 million SMEs in Thailand. Thai SMEs have low-level preparedness on business continuity planning, according to a study from 2018.  In addition, the degree of knowledge on BCP depends on the size of the business, period in which the business is in operation, and disaster experience. Those with disaster experience are more likely to have BCP. In another survey conducted in 2012, only 13% of SMEs have a business continuity plan, while 34.8% are in the process of developing one. Supporting business resilience in disaster-prone areas will need public and private support in promoting BCM practices. Industrial Estates: In the past, BCP of industrial estates in Thailand mainly focused on natural disasters. This is inevitably due to the direct experiences with catastrophes such as the 2011 Flood, where Thai businesses who activated their BCP strategy after the flood recovered better than those without. Increased interest in developing business continuity usually results from these crises. Others:  More immediate opportunities have emerged for Thailand to develop BCP in other areas which applies to all businesses. This is shown recently by the case of Covid-19 pandemic this year, as most businesses were caught off-guard and were unprepared to handle the global virus pandemic which affected all business across the country. Cyber security will be another key risk in the future for Thailand. [caption id="attachment_2673" align="alignright" width="241"] http://www.un.or.th/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/UN-Thailand-Annual-Report-2018.pdf[/caption]

Frameworks in Thailand on BCP

In Thailand, The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) conducted a BCP study in 2011. Implementation of the BCP is classified into 3 levels: the national, regulatory and business enterprise levels and identifies that at: The national level: Thailand has no clear plan in business continuity. The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) manages and handles emergency situations, and the agency only focuses on the implementation and management of disasters that affect the lives and property of citizens. The regulatory level: This is an agency that links the implementation of the BCP between the national level and the business enterprise level. Currently, regulators encourage the development of BCP by some financial institutions, such as the Bank of Thailand. The group actively promotes and pushes the development of more robust BCP measures. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Area BCP Bangkadi Industrial Park Area, Pathumthani Province, Thailand also promotes the development of BCP in their industrial and entrepreneurial networks together with exercise of a drill at least once a year. The business enterprise level: Large enterprises have been implementing business continuity management (BCM), which is caused by the awareness of the organization itself and because it is also regulated, such as by the ISO 22301. This has influenced some sectors such as the banking sector to comply with the regulations. Despite these implementations, some organizations may manage and plan for BCP, but still have not understood its concept well, which hinders co-operation on the national level.

Tools

Developing BCP should be a dynamic, ongoing process, as ‘crisis adaptability is the key to continuity’.  Many different tools and services are available to facilitate BCPs. Gathering this information could be done manually or automated with the help of software to reduce time and cost, common for IT recovery planning.  An example guidance for BCP can be found from WHO (World Health Organization). #1 Risk assessment:
  1. Identify and evaluate risk
  2. Actions to manage/mitigate the risk
  3. Future monitoring and procedures to prevent risks from occurring
#2 Business Impact Analysis (BIA): an analysis that identifies, quantifies, and qualifies the impacts resulting from interruptions or disruptions of an organization’s resources by using engineering analysis, mathematical modeling, simulations, surveys, questionnaires, interviews, structured workshops, or a combination thereof.
  1. Assess impact over time on the products and services and at what cost
  2. Prioritize recovery from key areas and critical functions, identifying the critical business processes and “Single Points of Failure” (SPOFs)
  3. Identify dependence between business areas and functions
  4. Determine the acceptable downtime for each function
  5. Identify resources for continuity support
  6. Make an initial plan to maintain operations
#3 Recovery strategy planning: The risks (see Figure 4) could either be controlled, transferred, avoided, or accepted. The most common strategies involve some type of third-party data center for backup, an alternate, off-site processing location and alternate workspace to restore operations to a minimally acceptable level. #4 Testing: Many organizations test several times a year to improve the plan, depending on the business type of the organization. Employee turnover, number of business processes, and other changes will affect the frequency of testing. Drills or disaster role-playing could be incorporated once a year through discussions (tabletops) with key business units or actual disaster walk-through (exercises). [caption id="attachment_2717" align="aligncenter" width="625"] https://www.set.or.th/th/regulations/supervision/files/Disclosure_Focus/Aug_%2053.pdf[/caption] A PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle), shown in Figure 5, can be used in the BCM strategy.

Example BCP Scenarios

The following could be used as example for tabletop exercises: Scenario 1: A fire occurs in the office. Employees are safely outside, however, client information cannot be accessed as most computers and servers were destroyed in the fire. Hard copies of files and documents containing important data are lost. How is data backed up? Where? How much can be recovered? How are clients to be notified of the fire accident? Scenario 2: Viral pandemic An ongoing flu pandemic is occurring globally. Staff numbers are likely to fluctuate due to sickness or care for family members. Loss of 25% of staff is likely. How can the organization continue to serve customers? What is the chain of command? How to communicate during the crisis and what are the policies? What should happen when attendance drops and fatalities occur? What if the pandemic disease continues for longer than one year?

Conclusion

To ensure a successful plan, companies must be proactive about implementing technologies and protocols that will prevent disruptive events from occurring in the first place. Creating a clear path to recovery with an ongoing BCP will give the organization confidence in dealing with such protocols and systems, hence, rapid business recovery will result. Find out more about our BCP services.

Reference

NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs 2019 Edition “Business Continuity Management” GAP.1.15, Global Asset Protection Services LLC 2015 https://www.enisa.europa.eu/topics/threat-risk-management/risk-management/current-risk/bcm-resilience/bc-rm-interfaces Doi: 10.1016/j.proeng.2016.06.390 Practical Process for Introducing Smart Business Continuity Management of Smart City in Japan – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/BCP-concept_fig1_304713463 [accessed 18 May, 2020] Photo by Curioso Photography from Pexels Video on BCP https://youtu.be/vBWwyJwcdlg WHO Guidance for Business Continuity Planning. Geneva: World Health Organization; [2018]. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO https://www.enisa.europa.eu/topics/threat-risk-management/risk-management/current-risk/bcm-resilience/files/ic_relationship.jpg https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/3-s2.0-B9780123822338000169/first-page-pdf https://www.adpc.net/igo/contents/Publications/publications-Details.asp?pid=1163 https://www.adpc.net/igo/category/ID1163/doc/2017-kpg6Jv-ADPC-01_AreaBCP_English_Final_Report_20170220.pdf https://www.sumipol.com/knowledge/smes-%E0%B8%AB%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%A7%E0%B9%83%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%B5%E0%B9%88%E0%B9%81%E0%B8%97%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B4%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%82%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%87%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%A8%E0%B8%A3/ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.10.002 https://www.adrc.asia/publications/bcp/survey_2012.pdf https://www.iso.org/obp/ui#iso:std:iso:22301:ed-2:v1:en https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240177042_Business_Continuity_Management_Time_for_a_Strategic_Role https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240177042_Business_Continuity_Management_Time_for_a_Strategic_Role https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/continuity-planning

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Part 1

June 10, 2020
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

All Sustainable Development Goals

What is a sustainable development?           

A development that can satisfy the demand of the current generation and will not reduce the future generation’s potential to satisfy their needs. A society will be sustainable when there is a balance of 3 dimensions: Environment, Economy and Society. After the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came to an end in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are launched by all United Nations Members States on September 2015 which are part of UN resolution 70/1 and intended to be achieved by the year 2030. The goals provided a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. SDGs consists of 17 topics as follows: All 17 goals which are classified into 5 topics (5P).
  1. People End poverty and hunger in all forms and ensure dignity and equality. (Goals 1-5)
  2. Planet Protect our planet’s natural resources and climate for future generations. (Goals: 6 12 13 14 and 15)
  3. Prosperity Ensure prosperous and fulfilling lives in harmony with nature. (Goal 7-11)
  4. Peace Peaceful, just and inclusive societies. (Goal 16)
  5. Partnership Implement the agenda through a solid global partnership. (Goal 17)

Features of Sustainable Development Goals

1. Inclusive Development – Sufficient coverage of development. Leave no one behind. 2. Universal Development – Not for only poor countries but to support all countries 3. Integrated Development – Harmonizing of all 17 goals 4. Locally-focused Development – The goals must be applied to both urban and rural areas (Bottom up approach). 5. Technology-driven Development – SDGs need a modern technology to succeed, especially the one relating to data. One example of understanding SDGs systemically. In countries that has increasing rate of enrollment, there are some students who are still not able to access to schools due to poverty and the distance to school. In addition, if the student is a female, her parents may think that going to school is not necessary. In order to solve this problem, 7 goals have to be integrated: Goal 1 No Poverty, Goal 2 Zero Hunger, Goal 4 Quality Education, Goal 5 Gender Equality, Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 10 Reduce Inequalities, Goal 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institution. SDGs in Thailand SDGs are used as a guide to Thailand’s 20-Year National Strategy (2018-2037) which is legislated in the Constitution of Thailand 2017. To achieve SDGs, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) and Thailand’s 20-Year National Strategy are the ideas and method to conduct. In Thailand, SDGs are supervised by the National Committee for Sustainable Development (CSD) which is set up by thai government, headed by the Prime Minister. Consisting of 37 members from the integration of public sectors, private sectors and civil society sector and having the Secretary-General National Economic and Social Development Board as the secretariat. In order to provide more channels for the local communities to work with the government sector, the cabinet also established three new national committees in 2017-2018. Such committees are a committee for the implementation of government policies, a committee on building the capacity of local communities and a committee on the Sustainable Thai Nyom Project*. “Business sectors are the largest culprit in destroying environment” said Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Company in TED TALK 2019. Many thai companies have initiated their projects towards the SDGs. Most companies have to review their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and/or have to adjust their production processes to decrease the impact on environment. In Thailand, there is an organization that specially aims for sustainable development called Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD), founded in 1993. Currently, there are 38 organizations as a member that involves following occupancies: agricultural, financial, service, technology, industrial, consumer products, resources, real estate and others. Some examples of cooperation projects between TBCSD and Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) are Carbon Reduction Certification for Building which encourages the involvement of manufacturers and consumers in global warming reduction via the market mechanism and Green Label for the environmentally friendly products. Several large Thai corporations also initiates their SDGs projects. CP All and PTT, for instance. *Thai Nyom Project can be translated as “sustainable Thai way”. It is a project for government to collect opinions (Big Data) from citizens to allow the government to know about people’s needs such as the economy in people’s views. In 2015, CP All became a member of UNGC (United Nation Global Compact) and use 17 goals as a business plan guide. By classifying SDGs into 3 topics: Heart (Living Right), Health (Living Well) and Home (Living Together). Heart focuses on “Governance” inside the organization which can refer to a core value for all staff and be more open to different point of views to create new innovations. Health focuses on what we can do to create sustainability for a society. And, Home is how we can reserve dwellings for our and future generations. What Pid Thong Lung Pra foundation, supported and cooperated with UNGC, is doing is an example of “Home”. The foundation is targeting on water management which is the heart of farmers’ living. PTT, as an energy company, comes up with 3P strategy which is the balancing between People, Planet and Profit. Famous project for “People” are “Pacharat School” by becoming 1 from 12 supporter companies. The project applies the management way of private company to the school system. Another significant project is EECi (Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation) in Wang Chan Valley in Rayong Province to be the Smart Natural Innovation Platform with the purpose of driving research and innovation. The project develops infrastructure on the area of 3,302 rai to be in accordance with “Smart City”.

What are business risks and chances for Thai company with SDGs?

It is apparent that the world’s population keeps increasing every year. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to increase by 10 million people, meaning that the demand will also increase. This can benefit in a larger market segment. On the other side, in order to produce more products, can the technology satisfy that production level, while land limitation exists. There are several challenges or risks that the business sectors have to consider. The challenges may be separated into 2 forms: External drives and Internal Drives. External drives are mostly from international organizations such as UN and WTO that regulate how the productions will not further damage environment. Internal drives are more critical as It is important for business sectors to be proactive rather than reactive. Business sectors have to know themselves well, for example, is the cost low enough? are there new innovations? are there new markets? or using Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)* as an indicator. *Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) are a family of indices evaluating the sustainability performance of thousands of companies, operated under S&P Dow Jones Indices. Thailand has advantages in some industries due to the location such as Trade & Finance, as Thailand is located in the center of ASEAN, Tourism and obviously agricultural and food industries. On the other hand, there are lots of units that are still in Thailand 1.0 level, especially the agricultural units (farmers) which are 40-50% of the overall Thailand’s population. The more SMEs transformed to 4.0, the more inequality it will become for the agricultural section.

In the following chapters, we will talk about all 17 goals in detail.

 

Are Medical thermometer and Industrial thermometer interchangeable?

June 10, 2020
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

Image of spot-type thermocamera

            VS       

Infrared thermometers are tools used to quickly measure the surface temperature of an object without touching it. The infrared thermometers are used in wide range of applications including medical and industrial use. The measured temperature can range from 0-3,600 °C. The device takes in the radiation emitted by the object and calculates its temperature.

How an infrared thermometer works?

As the world is facing a COVID-19 crisis, the demand of infrared thermometers greatly increases to filter for the infected people. The question is “Can we used Medical and Industrial Infrared Thermometers interchangeably?” The answer is “yes but only recommended for preliminary screening. Normally, an industrial infrared thermometer is designed to measure surface temperature over an extensive temperature range. The temperature can range up to 500 °C. The wider range means there is a trade-off in measurement accuracy. Industrial thermometers can have an error factor that average around ±1 °C to ±1.5 °C. On the contrary, the output of medical infrared thermometers must be more accurate as they are well calibrated for human body temperature. The temperature of the medical infrared thermometer only ranges from 32 °C to 42.5 °C, so the error can be expected to be average at ±0.1 ºC. A reliable medical infrared thermometer is certified for medical use such as ASTM 1965-1998: Specification for Infrared Thermometers for Intermittent Determination of Patient Temperature and FDA. To ensure the best accuracy of the measurement, a trained or experienced operator is needed to reduce error, even for the medical infrared thermometer. Generally, inaccuracies when using infrared thermometers can be from operating errors and misinterpretation of readings. The common causes of inaccuracy include: 1. Not following instructions – Thermometer is too close or too far away 2. Require skilled adjustment – A different surface temperature needs different settings. (Emissivity) 3. Subject to environment influences – Changing in ambient temperature can cause inaccuracy. 4. Not transparent to glass and other substances – Thermometer cannot read temperature through the glass and other transparent materials. In conclusion, industrial infrared thermometers can be used to measure body temperature but they are not recommended. An accurate industrial infrared thermometer that can adjust the setting usually comes with an expensive price. Using a medical infrared thermometer would cost less with enough accuracy. The safest way to use industrial infrared thermometers for measuring human body temperature is the primary screening and requires a contact measurement to confirm the result. References 1: https://pixabay.com/th/photos/%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%97%E0%B8%84%E0%B9%82%E0% B8%99%E0%B9%82%E0%B8%A5%E0%B8%A2%E0%B8%B5-%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%93%E0% B8%AB%E0%B8%A0%E0%B8%B9%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%B4-%E0%B9%81%E0%B8%AA% E0%B8%94%E0%B8%87%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%93%E0%B8%AB%E0%B8%A0% E0%B8%B9%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%B4-3094663/ 2: https://www.instrumentchoice.com.au/news/what-s-the-difference-between-medical-and-industrial-ir-thermometers 3: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/infrared-thermometer 4: https://www.theblazinghome.com/infrared-thermometer-vs-digital-thermometer/ 5: https://pixabay.com/th/vectors/%E0%B9%81%E0%B8%82%E0%B8%99-%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%B7% E0%B8%AD-%E0%B8%82%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%B7%E0%B8%AD-%E0%B8%A1% E0%B8%99%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%A9%E0%B8%A2%E0%B9%8C-153258/ 6: https://buythermopro.com/knowledge/infrared-thermometer-gun-temperature-screening/ 7: https://www.egat.co.th/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3420&catid=49&Itemid=251 8: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/is-an-industrial-ir-thermometer-adequate-for-measuring-body-temperaturefever/ 9: https://ennologic.com/corona/

Thailand PM2.5 Crisis

May 7, 2019
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

PM 2.5 car exhaust pipe

Why is PM2.5 harmful in Thailand?

Bangkok’s hazy morning could be pleased to many people but this fog is actually a cluster of very small and dangerous dust particles that can easily enter and harm human’s body. The air quality of Bangkok has been getting worse since the second week of January. The pollution level (PM2.5) remains at hazardous level in many areas of Bangkok and the surrounding provinces. This year’s situation is worse than that in 2018. Experts conclude that the combustion from diesel engines, burning of biomass and industrial activities are the main causes of the situations from both inside country and neighboring countries. From the study, Bangkok’s PM2.5 haze usually occurs in drought season or cold season of Thailand due to the stagnant air movement. In the big picture, the haze problems also takes place in other ASEAN countries such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. This could be a failure of Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) to enforce its members to stop expansion of monoculture farming and rapid deforestation.

What is PM 2.5?

            PM2.5 dust is any particle that is smaller than 2.5 microns which is comparable to bacteria size. Human’s hair has an average size around 50 microns and PM2.5 dust is 20 times smaller than human’s hair. Thus, the particles can easily penetrate the nasal hair to the lungs which can increase the risk of lung cancer. PM2.5 is the main pollutants in many countries like China, USA and European countries as it can stay in the atmosphere for a long time and can travel for a long distance. The sources of PM2.5 are mainly from the diesel engine combustion, the burning of biomass, dust from combining of pollutant gases and the industrial activities.

Pollution from Industrial Dust

Pollution from Engine Combustion

Impacts of PM2.5 and StandardsImpacts of PM2.5 and Standards

National Air Quality and Global Guidelines for PM2.5 by WHO

Because of its tiny size, PM2.5 can easily enter human’s lungs and bloodstream which can obviously affect human’s health. The study shows that the PM2.5 can cause respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer or even death. Children, elderly and pregnant women will be more risky to PM2.5 than adults. Long term exposure to PM2.5 might be an important risk factor of hypertension in adults and can even deteriorate the reproductive system. According to Thailand’s standard, the PM2.5 level should not exceed 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, while the WHO’s standard is set at 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Countermeasures

The Pollution Control Department strictly orders the vehicles emitting black smoke off the roads and to prevent people from lighting a fire outdoors, and asks people to reduce their use of private vehicles. However, these actions may not be effective immediately.
The help from meteorological factors such as weather (temperature and wind speed) and precipitation could be the best option. The study has found that the high temperature weather was more helpful to diffusion of pollutants than the low temperature. The rainfall also affects the removal of particles. The average PM2.5 concentration decreased by 56.3% after the rainfall by the PM2.5 concentration remains after 1 hour of rainfall and will keep declining within the next 12 hours. Therefore, there is an attempt of rainmaking to settle the dust.
The simplest way people can protect themselves is to wear N95 mask when going outdoor which is more capable of filtering the PM2.5 than the normal mask. Since the outdoor PM2.5 pollution cannot be easily controlled, it is important to control the indoor air quality by using the air filter.

N95 mask

Applications for checking PM2.5

The air quality can be checked by the following applications and website.
-Air4thai (application)
-AirVisual (application)
-http://air4thai.pcd.go.th/webV2/
-https://aqicn.org/city/
-https://www.airvisual.com/

The graph below indicates the changes in the mass density of PM2.5 at one of the monitoring station in center area of Bangkok from 1st January 2019 to 15th February 2019.

Changes in the mass density of PM2.5 (micrograms per cubic meter)

References

https://www.beartai.com/article/tech-article/303260 https://thaipublica.org/2019/01/air-pollution-pm10-pm2-5/ https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1610854/bangkok-air-pollution-remains-at-hazardous-levels http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30343974?fbclid=IwAR3kN-1X0MXD2guaftMiNAWu9RuM83uH6d0p2LeI4NF1oApFBpv1ff2-FCg https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5876983/ https://aqicn.org/city/thailand/bangkok/chulalongkorn-hospital/ http://www.ccacoalition.org/en/content/air-pollution-measures-asia-and-pacific

Fire at Centara (Central World)

April 12, 2019
Sutiwat Prutthiprasert

From the investigations of the Forensics Department of the National Police Force, staffs of the Engineering Institute and staffs related to the incident, Mr. Pichaya Chantranuwat, the Director of the Engineering Institute of Thailand states that the origin of the fire is from the fire pump room on the B2 basement floor. The fire travelled from the underground floor B2 up to the 8th floor via the interconnecting duct between the B2 and 8th floor. The duct is horizontally installed and is made from fiberglass, which is not designed for high heat resistance. The heat spreading to the 8th floor’s duct caused it to collapse and obstruct the fire exit of the 8th floor which caused the smoke to be trapped and was not able to escape outside. The situation was worsened by large amount of combustibles which helped sustained and grow the fire.  

Due to the old age of the building, the outdated duct design is considered to be a weak point. On the other hand, newly constructed buildings would have the heat resistant ducts installed or fire dampers inside the duct in order to prevent the air from coming inside. Building inspections for old buildings will be restricted to original structural inspections, and no emphasis will be made on the matters previously mentioned. Mr. Pichaya also states that the laws and regulations for building fires exist, but are difficult to enforce.

From our experience of surveying numerous factories, we hypothesize that the underground B2 floor, which contains the wastewater treatment equipment and other utilities, had methane gas, hydrogen sulfide gas, and ammonia gas accumulated from the wastewater treatment process. These gases can be ignited and catch fire quickly from electric sparks of the blower machine, which was inside the room, according to the news. This could be the cause of the fire incident. Afterwards, the smoke and heat rose into the ventilation duct which if no inspections were regularly performed, debris and residues could be the fire’s medium and helped spread the fire. This lead to continuous fire inside the duct due to the duct’s inability to resist fire, finally causing the pipe to be damaged, collapsing to block the exits.

[caption id="attachment_2260" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Traffic Congestions in Bangkok[/caption]