EARTH Thailand

Map Ta Phut city plan halves industrial zone

The Nation 01 March 2011 | Pongphon Sarnsamak

A new city plan has been proposed for Map Ta Phut which would see the area's industrial zone cut by half and the buffer zone between industries and the community increased to cover nearly 10,000 rai.

The plan, proposed by the Map Ta Phut municipality, will be studied by the Interior Ministry's Civil Works Department and City Planning Committee today.

"If the committee approves this draft, it will mean that only clean industrial activities will be allowed in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate," said Preecha Ronnarong, a member of a subpanel studying the use of the city plan to resolve pollution problems in Map Ta Phut and nearby areas. He was speaking at the "Map Ta Phut Situation: Pollution, Health and City Plan" seminar yesterday organised by the Academic Network for Map Ta Phut and Thailand Environment Institute.

The new Map Ta Phut city plan proposes to focus on a balance between industrial development and the community. It would highlight the efficiency of building a buffer zone and resolving problems in the old community. The new city plan proฌposes to give importance to the management of preserved and conservation areas, including coastal and offฌshore areas.

"The new plan was drafted under the concept of an ecoindustrial town that focuses on industrial development that is friendly to the environment, health and people living around the industrial zone. This plan has developed from the demands of local people," Preecha said.


The new plan proposes to reduce the industrial zone from 40,000 rai to 20,000 rai and designate more than 9,475 rai surrounding it as a buffer zone between industries and the community. Moreover, about 15 square kilometres of sea adjacent to the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate would be designated as a conservation area. Port construction would be allowed within this area, but reclamation forbidden. A strip of land about 50 metres wide extending from the boundary fence of the industrial zone would be designated as a protection strip.

The new plan seeks to cover seven municipalities including Map Ta Phut, Ban Chang, Map Kha Pattana, Pla, Tap Ma and Nern Pra.

This new city plan also proposes that related agencies relocate three villages - Huay Pong, Map Cha Lood and Nong Fhep - located near the industrial zone. "This plan is only an initial idea that will be proposed to the Civil Works Department and the City Planning Committee. It will need a lot of revision," Preecha said.

Meanwhile, Map Ta Phut town municipality's acting city planning director, Chareon Pasorn, said the plan sought to reduce the industrial zone because some previous plans had overlapped with a conservation area in Huay Pong village and the Map Ta Phut industrial zone had been designated as a pollution control zone. Moreover, the Eastern Seaboard Committee had asked agencies to relocate people living near Map Ta Phut industrial zone.

Chareon said the Industrial Estates Authority of Thailand (IEAT) had asked his agency to extend the industrial zone in the plan to cover the sea area adjacent to the industrial zone because the IEAT wanted to reclaim some area and use it for industrial activities. "The implementation of this new city plan will be dependent on the decision of local people and the Map Ta Phut mayor," he said.