4.4 million Thai citizens to be impacted by water pollution

Press release - March 20, 2009
Greenpeace today released a shocking report which reveals that 92.68 percent of the total area in Thailand is at risk from water pollution. Within these risk areas, 6.87 percent is classified as ‘high risk’ and could impact approximately 4,440,049 Thai citizens if corrective action is not taken immediately.

The "Water pollution risk areas of Thailand" report commissioned by Greenpeace Southeast Asia, integrates environmental investigations and GIS technology to project what areas and water sources in Thailand are at risk of water pollution [1]. The report ranked 5 provinces of Bangkok, Samutprakarn, Samutsakorn, Chonburi and Rayong respectively as high risk water pollution areas.

"The unabated and unplanned expansions of industrial activities, increased use of chemicals in agriculture and population density are identified as the major factors causing water pollution [2]. Most of the high risk areas were found in highly industrialized and urbanized areas. Although their total areas are relatively small, but given the high density of population they will suffer the worst impacts," said Ply Pirom, Toxics Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The Report categorizes water pollution risk areas into 4 levels; high risk, medium risk, low risk and no risk. According to the findings, the eastern part of Thailand has the highest proportion of area at high risk level (35.64 percent of its total area), followed by Central part of Thailand (15.89 percent of its total area).

Additionally the report identifies that more than 99 percent of villages that are located near water source are also at risk of water pollution. 41.64 percent of these are considered to be at high risk levels. These areas have a population density of approximately 4,440,049 people.

Figures provided in the report also show that Rayong has 97.78 percent of its total area and 302 villages or 78.44 percent of the total villages are located near the water sources that have high risk of water pollution. Therefore, the call for Pollution Control Zone for industrial areas in the province, i.e. Maptaput, makes sense and should be implemented swiftly and with utmost sincerity.     

The report also reveals that 7 rivers in Central part, 8 rivers in the Eastern part, 14 rivers and 2 backwaters in the northern part, 14 rivers and 5 backwaters in the northeastern part are at high risk of water pollution, while some have never been polluted before.

"All the water bodies identified in the report are of high socio-economic and cultural significance for Thai people. We urge government to take aggressive action to combat the growing threats to the country's water resources. We have the least amount of fresh water resources available per capita in Southeast Asia. It is important that we do our best to protect our limited water resources from pollution" Ply added.

Other contacts: Ply Pirom, Toxics Campaigner, Tel: 081-658-9432 Wiriya Kingwatcharapong, Media Campaigner, Tel: 089- 487-0678

Notes: (1) Full report of Water Pollution Risk Area in Thailand is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/th/press/reports/water-pollution-risk-areas-thailand Summary report is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/th/press/reports/water-pollution-risk-areas-thailand-briefing (2) The report has identified 12 major causing factors of water pollution. They have undergone Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) to investigate the impacts of each factor. It was found that the top 6 ranked of causing factors of water pollution are 1) Topographical 2) Polluting industrial factories 3) Frequently flooded areas 4) Chemicals used in agricultural activities 5) Chemicals used in industrial activities and 6) Population density (3) Central part of Thailand: Nakornchisri River Lobburi river, Ladkred river, SuPhanburi river; Eastarn part of Thailand: Praprong river, Hanhumhan river; Northern part of Thailand: Mae Jam river, Mae Fang river, Sakaekang river, Mae lao river, Mae Tang river, Phumbhiphon dam, Sirikit dam; Northeastern part of Thailand: Shee river, Khong river, Songkarm river, Lamshee, Lamdomkari, Lamdomyai, Lampraymart, Lam Praprang, Lammoonnai, Lamthaklongkao, Houy loung, Lamthaklong dam, Lampow dam, Ubonrat dam; Southern part of Thailand: Pakphanung river, Thalaenoi, Pattani dam