Establishing an Air Quality Management System in Thailand

Timely and accurate data is invaluable to decision makers. Currently, Thailand has one of the best ambient air quality monitoring systems in the world. The ambient air quality is gathered from a nationwide network. Daily reports, as well as monthly or annual, can be readily produced. Reporting is also quick to react on sudden changes on levels of particular matters.

Waste disposal fees to triple

The household garbage management rate will be tripled nationwide, to replace the current unrealistic rate that does not cover the actual waste management cost, the Ministry of Interior says.

The new rate for households will be a minimum of 60 baht per month, up from 20 baht.

Dhana Yantrakovit, deputy chief of the Department of Local Administration (DLA), said the new garbage management fee will be introduced immediately after ministerial regulations related to waste management are announced.

Fridges dumped in canals, Chiang Mai swamped

Deputy Mayor Chatree Chuamanocharn on Friday acknowledged the survey of municipal waterways conducted by Nakhon Chiang Mai Municipality officials implementing the “Ying Thing, Ying Tuam” campaign – whose name translates roughly as “The more garbage disposed of in the wrong places, the worse the flooding”.

Chatree said the situation was particularly bad along the Mae Kha Canal in the Fa Mai neighbourhood, the exit point for water draining out of the urban area. Garbage collected there in a bottleneck, he said, impeding drainage.

Upstream projects risk Mekong Delta disaster

FEARS are rising in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam about food and social insecurity caused by hydropower dams and water-diversion projects planned or already started further upstream.

The delta has an extensive system of canals and green paddy fields that stretches for kilometres, creating a part of the world that seems blessed with abundance like a virtual Garden of Eden. Local people are down-to-earth, but troubled by the increasingly frequent and serious saltwater intrusion, which destroys their crops, while the riverbanks and seashore are eroding at an alarming rate.

High-speed train project clears EIA

The National Environment Board (NEB) has approved the first phase of the high-speed train project from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

The board has, however, warned over the possible environmental effects on Bueng Boraphet, a large freshwater swamp and lake in central Thailand, that the train is set to transverse. The board on Thursday approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the high-speed train project.

But the board recommended monitoring and implementation measures to limit the impact on Bueng Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan province.

Police probe dump over outflow fears

Rayong: The Rayong industrial officer has filed a complaint with the police, asking that it investigate a deserted industrial waste site close to Dok Krai Reservoir in Pluak Daeng district.

It is suspected that 200,000 tonnes of toxic waste which went missing last year might be buried there.

The authorities were compelled to act after polluted water was discovered at the industrial waste site, which may put the reservoir at risk of contamination.

The site was also emanating an unpleasant smell caused by hydrogen sulphide.

Public input on environment bill ‘inadequate’

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry on Monday arranged a series of public hearings for the new bill, although activists say that the sessions are not enough to reflect the opinions of all affected people. They also warned that unless the law is well drafted, the problems of enforcing environmental law such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would remain and even get worse. Supaporn Malailoi, the manager of Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants (EnLAW) Foundation, said the overall hearing process was not enough to ensure perfect legislation for the people.

Stand-alone EIA body sought in bill

An environmental advocacy group yesterday filed a petition with the Ministry of National Resources and Environment, demanding the agency include their proposals in a draft law designed to protect and preserve the environment.

The People's Network of Sustainable Development has long pressed the state to set up an independent body to conduct environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and environmental and health impact assessments (EHIAs) fairly and transparently.

Specialist 'environmental court' gets NRSA backing

The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) has endorsed a plan to create an environmental court overseeing cases involving pollution and its impact on the public.

The NRSA on Tuesday voted 90 to 1 with 10 abstentions in favour of approving a report proposed by a national reform committee on law and justice. The meeting, held at parliament, was chaired by the assembly's vice-chairman, Alongkorn Ponlaboot. The report will soon be forwarded to the Justice Ministry, the National Legislative Assembly and the cabinet for consideration.