“Power of the Nose: The Right to Clean Air” Art Exhibition by Thailand CAN and Allies Aims to Raise Awareness for Clean Air and Support for the Citizen-Led Thai Clean Air Bill.
25 May, 2023 Thailand Clean Air Network (or Thailand CAN), in partnership with Brown University Information Futures Lab 2022-2023 fellow Kelly Perry, artist Thanawat Maneenawa, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), and Masket Communications Co., Ltd., will launch an art exhibition entitled “Power of the Nose: The Right to Clean Air.” The exhibition will run from June 1 to June 11, 2023, at the BACC, between 10:00 and 20:00 hours, except on June 5, 2023. This imaginative art installation aims to remind us that we are all human beings, with one nose each to breathe the air that sustains our life, and that we as citizens have the power to unite under one breath to realize the right to clean air.
In Thailand, there is limited public awareness of air pollution’s impacts on human health. PM2.5, which refers to particulate matter at or less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is an invisible killer. According to a recent comprehensive global review, air pollution may be damaging every organ in the human body. Research has pointed to air pollution as the cause of premature death for over 50,000, Thais per year—more than the total number of deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.2 Tragically, people in Thailand are experiencing premature deaths, with an average of approximately 2 years earlier than expected, due to the country’s subpar national air quality standards which falls short of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended guidelines.3 The situation is even more alarming in Northern Thailand, where people are dying around 3 years prematurely.
Air pollution is a manifestation of structural issues, steeped in a long entrenched and unsustainable growth model, that prioritizes economic prosperity over environmental protection. However, it is important to recognize that there are sustainable solutions available and successfully implemented in numerous countries, proving that addressing air pollution does not hinder economic growth. Therefore, it is crucial to enact well-crafted clean air legislation that tackles the root causes of this public health crisis.
In January 2022, Thailand CAN submitted a citizen-led draft Clean Air Act to the Thai Parliament. However, this legislation still awaits endorsement by the Prime Minister for deliberation by parliament. The missing catalyst for real change is a groundswell of public support. Globally, all successful clean air movements were driven by everyday citizens who collectively demanded the passage of this important legislation. They were ordinary individuals who refused to accept the decline in the quality and longevity of their own lives and their loved ones’ as a foregone conclusion, and collectively demanded policy-level changes.
Together, we can make a difference by channeling our collective voices to petition for the passage of the citizen-led draft Thai Clean Air Act. An outpouring of public support will be needed to ignite the political will required to ensure that the newly elected Thai government administration upholds their campaign promises.
While policy change may seem like something beyond the reach of most people, Thailand CAN wants to shift this mindset by emphasizing that each of us have a much bigger impact than we may realize.
The exhibition’s display period will overlap with World Environment Day, June 5, 2023, reminding us that if environmental degradation persists in Thailand, our bodies will like vacuum cleaners attached to each nose sculpture, continuously absorbing and retaining toxic pollutants.
Join this growing movement to realize clean air for you and your loved ones by participating in the campaign petition which supports the passage of the Thai Clean Air legislation at: https://www.ThailandCAN.org
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