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  1. #1
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    Jul 2006
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    15-10-2019 @ 08:48 AM

    EEC - how it will affect the region...expats, property and you!

    The EEC is coming - it is going to effect YOU! -

    There are going to be major changes including infrastructure, industrial and urban developments to the 3 Changwats of Chonburi Chachoengsao and Rayong... are you prepared?

    Two recent reports should raise concerns especially for those living in the Map Ta put hinterland e.g. between Sattahip and Rayong

    Firstly a report from the World Resources Institute raises concerns about the authorities preparedness to act on complaints from local residents - In Thailand, Unmet Transparency Laws Impede Poor Communities? Struggle for Environmental Justice | World Resources Institute

    ... And the second report by Thai organisation EARTH in June 2017 on pollution discusses the effects on Ban Chang and other industrial complexes in Rayong - past, present & future... “There are no assurances that new industrialisation plans will not generate further pollution while existing problems have not been resolved. -
    Govt failing on environment, efforts to curb pollution: report

    Under the massive proposed Eastern Economic Corridor plan, the changwats of Chonburi to Chachoengsao to Rayong are about to undergo some major changes - how will the natural environment stand up to this? In particular the little Amphoe stuck right in the thick of it - Ban Chang?

    For the last 30 years or more, Thailand has been going through the process of moving from an agrarian to an industrial /manufacturing economy. One of the spearheads of this industrialisation has been the setting up of major chemical and manufacturing industrial estates, in particular along the Eastern seaboard south of Bangkok.

    In an effort to boost prospects for an economy that is quite lackluster compared to some of its neighbors, The Junta has decided to attempt to boost the economy by developing 10 special economic zones around the country and the establishment of the “Eastern Economic corridor” - “the manufacturing paradise of Asia”; basically it is to develop and unite Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong into one massive industrial “paradise” (one can’t help thinking that one man’s paradise is another man’s hell)

    This involves expanding the Laem Chabang port, high -speed train from Bkk to Rayong and a double track freight rail to Map Ta Phut. A motorway from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut and the expansion of U-Tapao to a major international airport. (From 800,000 to 5 million passengers per year)
    There will be BOI incentive packages to draw in companies from both home and abroad. - All this will of course generate a lot of new traffic, industry and the ensuing pollution.
    Among the incentives put forward is “A fast-tracked environmental impact assessment (EIA).” Probably the last thing a country needs when setting up petrochemical plants

    “ Thailand’s push for growth has raised concerns by local communities about increasing pollution, despite controls and legislation.” - VoA

    Even before this the region especially Rayong had suffered from excessive pollution...
    ““The production and use of hazardous substances in the country has caused pollution as hazardous substances were released into the environment and may cause contamination or remain in the environment,”

    “A European Union funded report with the Thai-based Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH) and Prague-based University of Chemistry and Technology covered eight provinces and the impact on local communities from dangerous heavy metal pollution.
    The heavy metals examined in the study included arsenic, mercury, zinc, cadmium, chromium, and lead along with organic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and petroleum products, which medical authorities warn can be potential dangers to health.
    Key areas of concern were the eastern seaboard industrial areas of Map Ta Phut and the provinces of Samut Sakorn Saraburi and Praeksa — which were affected by leakages from industrial landfills into the local environment.

    “Greenpeace Thailand country director Tara Buakameri said too often environmental policy depends on “top down” decision making, failing to address the pollution at the source.
    Tara said policy often compromises the environment to the benefit to industry and development.
    “It is a compromise situation – the compromise that benefits the polluter, benefits irresponsible companies that pollute the environment. When we can see that the result from the toxic contamination in different regions in Thailand — also affects the community,” - VoA -

    It looks now as if in the next few years the region around Ban Chang and Map Ta Phut is going to change beyond recognition. - Massive development is on the way with all its concomitant ills that are so familiar in Thailand.

    A report released this year by EARTH raises some disturbing points about Thailand’s policies towards development of industry and the ramifications for those living nearby and the environment.
    EARTH Thailand -

    Water for domestic and agricultural use is one particular problem here. How do you know if the water is safe? The authorities make it very hard for locals to find out....
    ““Without information, you are not able to participate in decision-making or understand whether your water is clean,” she said. “You’re not able to understand how government sets tariffs. You’re not able to understand whether policies are discriminatory against you.”.

    World Resources Institute said in a report on Southeast Asia’s water challenges it released Aug. 30: “Over 80 percent of global wastewater is discharged back into the environment without treatment, while 300 million to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other waste from industrial facilities alone are dumped into the world’s waters each year.”

    This section is devoted to Map Ta Phut - Map Ta Phut Studies
    “Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates have currently housed over 90 industrial facilities including oil refineries, petrochemical and chemical facilities and hazardous waste landfills and treatment facility with over 200 stacks emitting toxic pollution into the air of 25 surrounding communities.”
    “Over two decades of industrial development have turned the area, once rooted by small rural farming and fishing communities, into a number one toxic hot spot in the country”.

    “The rapid industrialization has resulted in deterioration of natural resources and changes in social and economic structure following by numerous social, socio-economic, environmental, and health problems. Accumulated pollution and environmental problems as well as mysterious diseases have been emerging, as very much linked to each other, and drastically affect small locals who are weak in power to negotiate with the powerful industries or bureaucratic agencies.” - EARTH

    Lack of regulation, industrial waste, spills and leaks proliferate as factories are built without supervision or any regard to the local population or environment. Money will be changing hands and some will become fabulously rich - or rather richer - whilst the factories will continue to pay laborers 300 baht a day to work in toxic conditions with the risk of industrial accidents, chemical damage or long term health problems.
    It seems many both big and small have a vested interest in silencing opinion on this topic.
    Industry want to continue their activities with as little interference as possible and such people as expats who have brought property there are also concerned about the desirability of their chosen location. (One would think they might also be concerned about their health and that of their families).

    It seems that many of those foreigners living in the area are remarkably uninformed about the history of pollution in the area and its lasting effects and are also unaware of the massive development just over the horizon. ... it has even been suggested that there were no factories in Ban Chang! Of course there! There are about 30 major factories there including the massive Dow Chemical plant.

    Ban Chang is actually not as some inhabitants believe to the west of industry, it is in fact totally surrounded. To the North it Pluak Daeng industrial estates and to the east, before Map Ta Phut, Ban Chang has factories itself such as Dow chemicals as well as the Asia Industry Estate. To the West is U-tapau airport, which is to be greatly expanded to take “MICE” traffic as well as air cargo. .... And the Sattahip Naval base which is also planning a big expansion; the Navy is planning a large industrial complex.

    Many people site “prevailing winds” as if this guarantees protection against pollution in the area.... big misunderstanding of how prevailing winds affect the region also the topographical and geographical location of the town, which has industry on all sides anyway.

    This “prevailing wind theory” is patently nonsense as firstly wind born is only one form of pollution and they are PREVAILING, not constant winds - in fact they are only the winds at sea level.... higher atmospheric winds often travel in differing directions and are capable of lifting pollutants and then dumping them around the region regardless of where the “prevailing” wind below may appear to be blowing that day. Gases and particles can be carried high into the atmosphere and then returned back into the prevailing winds or whatever and then gently sprinkled back over the region.

    As said of course wind is only one problem. Pollution is in soil, air, water and sea and is moved around not just by wind but by tides, rivers, rain; in soil that is moved or dug and dust, it is transported by road and rail it enters the food chain via water storage and catchment and is poured over crops and drained into the sea and the seafood farms that proliferate along the coast. Illegally disposed of industrial waste has been well documented in the region too...
    Toxic trash. Back in 2014 a report found that 75% of all hazardous waste in Thailand dumped illegally. Even legally disposed of industrial waste has to be transported around the region to designated sites. Much of the public is blissfully unaware of what is moving past their house...until health problems years later highlight the situation.

    The area between Sattahip and Rayong is about to undergo a massive involves the existing petrochemical industry and they also hope to attract others and require housing for thousands of workers. It is certainly not in the government’s interest to have a lot of negative publicity as they control the media a lot of this is kept to a minimum.
    But there have been continues protests by residents about health, fishermen about sudden depletion of fish stocks etc. every year there are oil and chemical leaks, many hardly get a mention in the media.

    A major report released this year by EARTH a Thai organization has strongly criticized the government plans and their record on dealing with pollution.
    On World Environmental Day yesterday, EARTH released a report on pollution in Thailand in 2015 and 2016, exposing serious problems at the Map Ta Phut and other industrial areas.

    “Atthapon Rittichart, a technical officer with EARTH, said people around the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate were suffering from high amounts of toxic substances in the environment, with many pollution-monitoring stations detecting high amounts of volatile organic compounds beyond safe levels, leading to extraordinarily high rates of cancer.” The Nation

    “Meanwhile, the report showed that over the past two years, there were 35 landfill fires, 22 reported incidents of illegal industrial waste dumping, and 11 oil spills in Thai waters.” - The Nation.

    There is no reason to believe that this overall culture over rampant unregulated expansion is going to change. It is in reality a “stable door” approach with little or no follow up...
    ““From the environmental problems we have noticed over the past two years, we have found that the authorities’ end-of-pipe approach to tackle environmental issues is causing problems, as they wrongly believe that the technology can solve every issue and action can be taken only when the problem already exists,” - EARTH director Penchom Saetang.

    “The Industrial Works Department and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand had a duty to monitor projects and punish operators who did not follow environmental regulations.
    However, those entities cared more about promoting investment and often ignored their role to investigate environmental law violations and to punish those who violated the rules.
    “These issues make our existing problems worse and a lot of people suffer. Not only the original issues remain unresolved, the government also promotes a new wave of industrial investment, which will further harm the environment and people’s wellbeing,” she said.

    So one hopes that the people living in this area are aware that the industry where decades of pollution from existing industries has been ineffectively addressed by successive authorities is now about to expand exponentially, and they will be sitting, as ever, slap bang in the middle of it.

    Remember it isn’t just the “spill” or leak” that is the problem - there is a constant build up in the environment from multiple sources - both large and small - and pollution seldom gets completely cleaned up and disappears, it lingers - sometimes for years or decades and the effects are cumulative on both the environment and those who live there. ....and the amount of industry in the region is about to increase dramatically. Without transparency, good regulation and enforcement, monitoring of pollution etc. one has to be concerned about the effects upon those who have invested their savings or decided to retire in the area

    feel free to cut and paste this - it has been banned by thaivisa - (try and paste it there if you like!)

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    chassamui's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Last Online
    Thailand sleep walking Into the 19th century of industrial pollution, with the blessing and complicity of a government that brooks no criticism.
    What could possibly go right?

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