Bangkok is a beautiful city. At least it probably is, but it's a bit hard to tell. Visability is so poor here, that the horizon simply disappears into a haze of smoke and dust and fumes. Thankfully this is a phenomena that all five senses can enjoy. There's plenty of haze to see, taste, hear and smell, and if the layer of grey greasy sweat at the end of the day is any guide, there's plenty to feel as well.
There is nothing inevitable about this state of affairs, though. It is the product of a city and a lifestyle which has quickly grown beyond what it can sustain. The city has sprawled quickly before proper public transport could be put in place, so that large parts of the metropolis can only be accessed by one of the aging buses, car or tuk-tuk (the open-aired mini-taxis, apparently named as they are due to the sound of the motor, but more probably so that tourists can joke with each other that they were tuk-tukken for a ride, usually in more ways than one.) The consequence of all that is that the city streets are crawling with cars which have few occupants and spend most of their time in traffic, pumping out more noxious fumes with no-where to go.
The other big environmental issue that confronts the city is the issue of rubbish. One a train ride a few days back, for example, a group of Thai school kids had finished their post-school-snack (PSS) and so decided to slide open the window and through the remnance of the PSS out of the window. Where does it go? Disappears, apparently, like magic! The predominant attitude seems to be that rubbish is an inconvience, and that people have every right to dispose of it as a quickly and recklessly as they wish. In the minds of most Bangkokians (Bangkokheads?), there is no link between their own behaviour and the state of the city they are living in. Sooner or later the Baht will drop, but things might turn ugly and smelly before it does.