Developing an emissions inventory for inland water transport in Bangkok, Thailand

Closed
started:
2019

To complete the overall emission sources for better air quality management in Bangkok, Thailand Pollution Control Department (PCD) and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) with the support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Solutions Centre and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) conducted a project to estimate the emission from inland water transport in Bangkok and provide recommendations on emission reduction to the government of Thailand. The results were necessary to better understand and manage air pollution emissions, especially PM2.5, since every year during November to April, Bangkok has been experiencing high PM2.5 concentrations.

Objective

This activity aims to estimate the emission from inland water transport in Bangkok and provide recommendations on emission reduction to the government of Thailand. The results are necessary to better understand and manage air pollution emissions, especially PM2.5, since every year during November to April, Bangkok has been experiencing high PM2.5 concentrations.

Challenges

Every day, more than 250,000 passengers in Bangkok takes Cross-river ferries, Chao Phraya express boats and Saen Saep express boats which connects two sides of Bangkok city to other modes of public transportation, such as motorcycle taxi, bus, sky train, subway. Although inland water public transport is one of the major transport means in Bangkok, the emission from this sector has not been studied, nor included as a separated emission source in the previous inventories. Boats using 15-20 years old engines emit large amount of black smoke while departing and embarking from piers and contribute to Bangkok’s air pollution problem.

Project results

The study, carried out by the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), concluded that switching boat engines to Euro VI with 10 ppm sulfur fuel could reduce 98% of PM2.5 emission from the current situation. Using 10 ppm sulfur fuel with the existing engines would only reduce PM2.5 emissions by 5% from the current situation. Thus, the best policy recommendation for PM2.5 emission reduction from boats are promoting the use of 10 ppm sulfur and switching to Euro VI engines.

Use of electric motors will bring tail-pipe emissions to zero and can significantly reduce air pollution along the river and canals. Other recommendations include limiting the age of engines, and reducing idling through better operations in stations and route planning. The researchers also acknowledged the potential of inland waterways to help decongest traffic congestion in Bangkok. Expansion and improvement of inland passenger transport could lead overall reduction of air pollution in the city, while providing better mobility to its citizens.  

This project also led to the development of an MS Excel emission calculation template for inland water transport which can be used to assess the emissions of inland water transport for other cities. Many major cities in Southeast Asia, and the world, are in major rivers and canals connecting to the coast. While many inland waterways are used for freight, not many cities are looking at passenger transport. Bangkok provides a good example in connecting road and waterway public transport. Inland waterways have the potential to alleviate road traffic and reduce overall emission from transport.

Who's involved

Lead Partner: A Coalition partner with an active role in coordinating, monitoring and guiding the work of an initiative.

Implementer: A Coalition partner or actor receiving Coalition funds to implement an activity or initiative.

Partners (3)

Partners (3)

Interesting Facts
  • Most major cities in Southeast or Asia were developed in river and coastal areas. Boats were the primary modes of transport of people and goods in the past, but priorities and investments of governments shifted to favor rail development and eventually road development to support motorization, and as such has left behind development of inland waterways
  • According to the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) data on emissions for 2015, Thailand’s black carbon emissions from inland water transport is 500 tonnes while 9,800 tonnes for road; in the Philippines it is 3,100 tonnes for inland waterways/domestic shipping and 4,800 tonnes for road; and for Indonesia 7,400 tonnes for inland waterways/ domestic shipping and 27,800 tonnes for road
  • In Bangkok, Thailand, the potential for expanded inland water transport passenger service is huge. Data from Thai experts show that the current inland water transport serves are only 67km while usable canal/ river routes is 696km. The current system serves 300,000 trips per day.

Resources & tools

Activity contact

Denise San Valentin,
Initiatives Coordinator/Programme Manager
denise.sanvalentin [at] un.org

Pollutants (SLCP)

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