“The Green Lung”, which is located in Bang Krachao, is a popular destination for both Thai and foreign citizens in Bangkok for one reason: It is the only place where we can breathe properly. This, as we know, is because of the high level of air pollution caused by the rapid economic development in Bangkok and slash-and-burn agriculture in neighboring areas. On March 22nd, 2021, I, alongside my peers in Year 12 from the IB Diploma Environmental and Systems and Societies class, visited this majestic protected area to conduct an investigation on the water quality. Dr. Wayne Phillips from Mahidol University also participated in this field trip to support us with our water quality investigation. Research questions differed between students, but the most common topics we investigated were pH, turbidity, and oxygen level. Our research also helped us learn about the environmental issues in the world such as plastic accumulation, river acidification, and water pollution.
Although it is considered a place protected by strict regulations, the first observations we made upon arriving seemed quite different. Numerous plastics could be seen floating in the Klongs (the waterways of Bangkok), especially around the open water area connected to the Chaopraya river and the floating market. Through investigation and observation, we concluded that these plastics may have accumulated in that area due to two reasons. The first reason can be explained through the river current from the Chaopraya river, which presents the possibility that these plastics may have actually been produced in the city and flowed into Bang Krachao. Another explanation is that the floating market and street vendors might have produced the plastic, as they commonly use plastic bags as a tool for their business. It is very depressing that large amounts of plastic have accumulated here even though it is supposed to be a protected area.
Do not doubt the majesty of the Green Lung after learning about its water quality, as it is still a great place to take a break from the busy urban life. The local residents welcomed us with open arms and we were very touched by their gracious hospitality. Among other activities, we enjoyed kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding– the atmosphere there is much more pleasant than bustling commercial venus like the wretched Siam Paragon, if you know what I mean :)
As a result of the pandemic, this wonderful place might have lost some of its appeal; however, the beauty of nature has inspired homo sapiens for billions and billions of years and nature was always there with us at all times. I believe that the “Green Lung” of Bangkok will provide us a breath of fresh air and help us start a new journey. So why not take a ride to the Green Lung of Bangkok because I promise that nature there will heal your pain from the pandemic.