Industry Minister must save lives in Map Ta Phut

Feature story - February 5, 2007
Greenpeace activists dressed as patients and lying on a hospital bed today gathered in front of Thailand’s Ministry of Industry to demand that the government immediately declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone. The activists carried banners saying “STOP KILLING MAP TA PHUT” after the National Environment Board (NEB) delayed the declaration, despite clear evidence of severe health and environmental impacts from the polluting factories in Map Ta Phut.

Greenpeace activists dressed as patients and lying on a hospital bed today gathered in front of Thailand's Ministry of Industry to demand that the government immediately declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone. The activists carried banners saying "STOP KILLING MAP TA PHUT" after the National Environment Board (NEB) delayed the declaration, despite clear evidence of severe health and environmental impacts from the polluting factories in Map Ta Phut.

Greenpeace activists dressed as patients and lying on a hospital bed today gathered in front of Thailand's Ministry of Industry to demand that the government immediately declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone. The activists carried banners saying "STOP KILLING MAP TA PHUT" after the National Environment Board (NEB) delayed the declaration, despite clear evidence of severe health and environmental impacts from the polluting factories in Map Ta Phut.

Kittikhun Kittiaram, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia (left) makes a press conference as Greenpeace activists dressed as patients and lying on a hospital bed today gathered in front of Thailand's Ministry of Industry to demand that the government immediately declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone.

Greenpeace activists dressed as patients and lying on a hospital bed today gathered in front of Thailand's Ministry of Industry to demand that the government immediately declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone. The activists carried banners saying "STOP KILLING MAP TA PHUT" after the National Environment Board (NEB) delayed the declaration, despite clear evidence of severe health and environmental impacts from the polluting factories in Map Ta Phut.

"Greenpeace is calling upon the Industry Minister Kosit Punpiemrat to now declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone. The NEB's decision to delay this declaration is a total disgrace. It is clear that the Government is more concerned about the well-being of polluting companies than the health of the villagers and the environment" said Kittikhun Kittiaram, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

In 2005, Greenpeace, Campaign for Alternative Industry Network, and Global Community Monitor released an air sampling report which documents extremely dangerous levels of air pollution present in residential areas surrounding Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates. The Pollution Control Department then re-sampled the air and confirmed that it is contaminated with toxic substances. It then proposed to the NEB to declare Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone.

In 2003 Greenpeace took samples of wastewater from Vinythai and Thai Plastic & Chemicals at their point of discharge to the canal in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate as well as sediment from the canal. The results show contamination of a range of highly toxic and carcinogenic substances.

According to Greenpeace, declaring Map Ta Phut a Pollution Control Zone is a necessary first step towards addressing and ultimately eliminating the grave problem of toxic pollution now threatening the lives of people and neighboring communities around the industrial estate.

"Greenpeace believes that the real and lasting solution to the pollution problem in Map Ta Phut and other polluted areas in the country lies in the government's and industry's adoption of clean production programs. The government must encourage and require companies to phase out the use of toxic substances and bring in the use of safer substitutes in their production processes," said Kittikhun.

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