EARTH Thailand

Map Ta Phut top priority in nationwide clean-up

The Nation 29 December 2009 | Janjira Pongrai  

Pollution Control Department plans air, water campaign for new year

Pollution and environmental problems around the Map Ta Phut industrial area of Rayong have been identified as the top priority of the Pollution Control Department next year.

PCD director general Suphat Wangwongwatthana yesterday described as "worrying" the air pollution caused by industrial discharge of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the estate and surrounding communities.

About half of all household water sources have also been contaminated with quantities of heavy |metals that exceed legal limits, he said.

Water resources within the estate used by factories have been contaminated with VOC at about 18 per cent of the total number, he said.

Ten factories have been found emitting VOC and they will be required to comply with PCD regulations by next year, he said.

At a press conference to summarise the country's pollution and environmental problems in a year-end review, the department also reported that major rivers, including the Chao Phya, were increasingly polluted while tourist beaches were facing environmental problems.

The discharge of untreated household wastewater and inefficient management of wastewater treatment systems were mainly to blame.

Rivers classified as in "a fair condition" in 2008 that are now rated as in a state of "deterioration" are Pa Sak, an entire central Chao Phya section, Songkhram, Loei, Nong Han and Pak Phanang.

Those rated as "fair" that have become "good" are Ping, Wang, Kui Buri, Chi, Phang Rad and the lower Tapee section.

As for water conditions in coastal areas, the 16 per cent in "fair condition" have been reduced to only 5 per cent this year. A "highly deteriorating" condition has been measured in the estuaries of the Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao, Mae Klong in Samut Songkhram and Ban Laem in Phetchaburi.
The waters off the end of the Laem Chabang pier in Chon Buri have been downgraded from "fair" to "deteriorating".

The water in "very good condition" at mostly tourist beaches has now slipped to "fair condition" in Samet, Si Chang, Samaesarn, Saphlee, Thung Wua Laen, Samui, Pha Ngan, Sai Ree, Hin Ngarm and Samila.

The Bangkok areas most full of small dust particles are Rama VI, Din Daeng, Phaholyothin and Rama IV.

Constant noise levels beyond safe daily limits have hit Tree Phet Road and the Lat Phrao area the hardest.