EARTH Thailand

Panel to propose pollution control tactics for Map Ta Phut

The Nation 29 April 2010   

A subpanel will propose measures on tackling pollution in Rayong's Map Ta Phut area before the end of next month.

The subpanel would work under a fourpart committee that is chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun and was established after the Central Administrative Court suspended dozens of industrial projects in the heavily polluted Map Ta Phut area.

"We are going to propose six new measures," the subpanel's chairman Dr Suthin Yoosuk said yesterday.

According to him, the first measure would be to monitor factories' compliance with approved environmentalimpact assessment (EIA) measures.

"Some factories have not followed the EIA," he pointed out.

Suthin added that the second measure would focus on keeping volatile organic compound (VOC) within a safe limit, while the third measure would address unpleasant odours.

"The fourth measure focuses on emergency response plans, such as quickly evacuating people in case of [chemical] explosions. We need to look into what is discharged from factories. Locals must be informed about the risks and there should be agencies and key persons to take action if an emergency arises," Suthin said.

He added that under the fifth measure, Map Ta Phut's capacity to accommodate pollutants would be discussed.

"The last measure is about empowering people. Locals will be informed about the risks and how they should protect themselves," Suthin said, adding that training would also be provided.

He said if Anand's committee approved the measures, it could directly forward them to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for consideration or refer them to the National Environment Board.

In a related development, a source said the 12member board of a temporary independent organisation established under a constitutional clause on environmental protection would select a board chairman at their meeting tomorrow.