EARTH Thailand

Health Impact Assessment of the Eastern Seaboard Development Program: A Case Study of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates

By Decharut Sukkumnoed – Kasetsart University, and Penchom Tang – Campaign for Alternative Industrial Network

HIA International Workshop in Thailand on “Creating the Ways Experiences on the Development of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for Healthy Public Policy (HPP)”, 5-7 November 2003

Ask the Thai government officials to name the most successful story of an industrialization program in Thailand, and they would tell you “the Eastern Seaboard Development Program” and its related stories. At the same time, if you asked the Thai NGOs or civil networks to identify the most visible example of serious environmental and health impacts in Thailand’s development experience, the answer would also be “the Eastern Seaboard Development Program”. The Eastern Seaboard Development Program is, thus, the most obvious case showing “the Two Sides of the Coin” from the Thai development experience. An issue worthy of a great concern here is that the Thai government still uses this program as the development model for other regions of the country, namely the Western Seaboard and Southern Seaboard Programs, despite serious complaints by the local people on their negative impacts. Therefore, if we wish to develop the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to be a tool or mechanism for influencing the healthy public policy in Thailand, “the Eastern Seaboard Development Program” could be used as one of the inevitable but promising case studies, both in terms of academic and social mobilization.

The HIA carried out on the Eastern Seaboard Development Program is the retrospective case study, aiming to gain more experiences and knowledge on health impact assessment, as well as, to find the better ways in protecting and promoting the local people’s health. However, due to the limited time and resources, this study had focused only on the Map Ta Phut industrial estate area in Rayong Province, the heart of the Eastern Seaboard area.

The paper will start by providing background information on Eastern Seaboard Development Program, Map Ta Phut industrial estates, and Map Ta Phut Communities. Then, conceptual framework and methodologies will be introduced. The forth and the fifth part of the paper will present bio-physical and socio-economic environmental changes, as a main determinants for health impacts. After that, the analyses of related health impacts will be explained, following by the analysis of public policy process. Last, as one of the main purposes of HIA, policy recommendation will be provided.

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