The Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) of Thailand and the Finance Ministry have drafted a law imposing new taxes and fees on polluters. According to the draft of the law, the Finance Ministry will be given stronger powers for fighting pollution, outlining seven key measures such as environmental taxes; management fees such as water treatment; taxes and fees on products that cause environment problems; deposits against environmental risks and damages; trading rights to use natural resources or to emit pollution; subsidies and support measures; and other measures.
Public awareness about environmental problems increased after the air quality in Bangkok and surrounding areas became toxic between late 2018 and early 2019.
(Source: The Bangkok Post)
The Government of Thailand has officially apologized to Bangkok citizens for the air pollution that has affected the country since late December 2018 to well into February 2019. The amount of harmful PM2.5 dust particles in the air exceeded the safe limit in the capital and adjacent provinces almost every day within this period.
In this period, air purifiers were sold out in the Thai capital, and hundreds of schools had to close after a sharp drop in air quality. Some analysts foresee tangible opportunities for firms offering technology for environmental upgrades.
Recently, Thai academics have called for a clean-air act and an independent environmental protection agency (EPA) to safeguard the “people’s right” to a healthy atmosphere.
Currently, the agency in charge of tackling the problem is the Pollution Control Department, but its primary work is policy-making, and it is therefore unable to effectively coordinate all the agencies to deal with excessive pollution.
(Sources: The Straits Times; The Nation; Thai Visa)
Thai company, B.Grimm, has launched commercial operations at seven solar photovoltaic (PV) parks at home with a combined capacity of 30.83 MW. Four of the plants are supplying power to the Metropolitan Electricity Authority under a 25-year power purchase agreement. They are located in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi.
With the latest addition from those seven solar farms, the SET-listed firm closed 2018 with combined capacity equity to 2,076 MWs, up by 26% from the previous year, and strengthening BGRIM’s position as one of Thailand’s leading private power producers. Meanwhile, B. Grimm's on-going solar energy projects in Vietnam, with a total installed capacity of 677 MWs, are making satisfactory progress in construction.
BGRIM currently operates an aggregate of 36 power stations comprising 15 co-generation plants, 18 solar farms, two hydropower plants, and one diesel generator in Thailand and abroad.
(Sources: Renewables Now; Thai Visa)
On October 25 the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and the country’s Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) signed an MOU to study technical aspects of s Smart Grid Pilot Project in Mae Hong Son Province. The project aims to enhance the generation and distribution systems of renewable energy.
The technical areas that will be studied include:
The smart grid will be controlled by an EGAT-designed controls system. The announcement comes just a year after that EGAT announced battery energy storage to be a 'new dimension' for the management of electricity.
(Source: EGAT, Press Release)
Charoen Pokphands Foods PCL (CPF), one of Thailand’s largest food conglomerates, is moving forward with its shift towards toward organic shrimp farming, planning to reduce risk and increase productivity through small-scale farms. Premsak Wanuchsoontorn, executive vice president for the CPF aquaculture business, revealed that the company plans on investing in new farming techniques to promote sustainable shrimp farming, as a response to new consumer trends.
CPF set up its prototype farm Chantaburi, covering 960,000 square meters, in order to developing new farming techniques. The farm uses recycled water, which recirculates in the farming system. The method can significantly reduce water consumption from external sources and, at the same time, reduce the risk of contamination from intake water.
The farm uses an ultra filtration (UF) system with a pore size of 0.02 micron for water filtration. The farm is also using biofloc technology. Bioflocs are aggregates (flocs) of algae, bacteria, protozoans, and other kinds of particulate organic matter. Bioflocs help treat wastes from feeding and provide an additional source of nutrition for the shrimp. Biofloc systems minimize water exchange to manage water quality and emphasize and encourage internal waste treatment processes, reuducing risk of contamination and introduction of disease.
CPF plans to transform all of its shrimp farms to indoor facilities over the next five years, with a more intensive use of automation to save man hours and reduce contamination from the human touch. Currently 15-20% of the company's shrimp farms in Thailand are indoor.
The Thai Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and Japan's Nissan Motor Thailand have agreed to join forces to install quick-charging outlets in households, supporting the future introduction of the Nissan Leaf, a fully electric vehicle (EV), in the Thai market. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed which will last for two years. The agreement is focused on studying know-how from MEA in developing new wall outlets for electrified vehicles (EV) in Thailand.
Nissan Thailand president Antoine Barthes said that the move is part of their plan to introduce in Thailand the Leaf, EV wall charger. “The move would address fears that EVs were uneconomic, and set a cornerstone for the future development of electrified mobility in the nation.
The Leaf uses a CHAdeMO charging type, meaning that Thailand will likely consider following the standard as well, making another potential addition to the growing movement to standardize EV charging across the world. CHAdeMO is a quick charging method for battery electric vehicles delivering up to 62.5 kW by 500 V, 125 A direct current via a special electrical connector. A revised CHAdeMO 2.0 specification allows for up to 400 kW by 1000 V, 400 A direct current. Other reports claim that the Thai government is more interested in establishing a type 2 standard, similar to the European CCS (Combined Charging System) standard. The Combined Charging System allows AC charging using the Type 1 and Type 2 connector depending on the geographical region.
(Sources: Bangkok Post; Electrive.com)
In August 2018, after a meeting among Thailand’s main environmental agencies, the country has decided to prohibit the import of all kinds of electronic and plastic wastes.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister General Surasak Kanchanarat emphasised that the environment and public health must come before profit-making and industrial development.
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry banned the import of more than 400 kinds of e-waste, from electronic circuit boards to old television and radio parts and plans to completely ban the import of all plastic wastes in the next two years. The resolution, however, makes some exceptions and will allow the import of used electronic telecommunication products and copying machines for repair and reuse. In addition, steel, copper and aluminium scraps can still be imported for industrial use on the condition that these metal scraps must be clean and not be mixed with other substances.
On July 24, it was reported that 2,185 cargo containers loaded with plastic scrap and e-waste were being held by the Customs Department, with 2,100 carrying plastic waste and 85 carrying e-waste. The Customs Department also said that six hundred containers filled with 12,000 tonnes of plastic scrap and e-waste would be redirected if the importers did not perform customs clearance within 45 days. On July 20, the Department redirected 54 containers with plastic scrap and e-waste, shipped from the US, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In January this year, a ban on the import of 24 types of trash, including waste plastics and electronic waste, came into effect in China. China weas previously importing nearly 70% of the world's e--waste. Subsequently, the US and European countries have had to seek alternative destinations for their solid waste and the South East Asian region including Thailand has been the primary recipient. The Thai government has been stepping up nationwide inspections to counter the steep rise in the flow of illegal electronic waste, imported by companies without the required permits. Neighboring country, Vietnam, also said recently that it would stop issuing new licences for waste imports and crack down on illegal shipments of paper, plastic and metal.
(Sources: The Nation; Bangkok Post; Reuters; Straits Times)
Thai real estate developer, Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Ltd (MQDC) declared that the company is planning to spending THB 6 billion (USD 180 million) over the next 10 years on R&D for the development of innovative products and for the upcycling of waste for use in building construction.
The company has also announced its collaboration with PTT Global Chemical Plc (GC), in order to developing upcycled building materials from plastic waste. The materials will used be in the construction of MQDC’s residential projects that are planned for 2018 and 2019.
The partnership, also involving Kasetsart University (KU), Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), and the Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC), was announced at RISC's headquarters at Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard (MRB).
MQDC plans to launch five residential projects in the second half of 2018.
“This is the first time that a Thai property firm is using upcycled plastic waste to build its construction projects. This will help the country to reduce plastic waste and move it to zero-waste status in the future,” said RISC’s chief adviser.
(Sources: The Nation; MQDC)
According to the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) Director-General, Siriruj Chulakaratana ,electric vehicles (EVs) are poised to drive the Thai automotive industry because retail EV pricing and technology costs are expected to decline. The OIE Director-General said that currently EVs are not affordable, and the industry needs time to switch from internal combustion to electric power.
Siriruj added that eight Japanese automakers applied for the hybrid EV (HEV) project, including Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Suzuki, but thus far only Toyota has won incentives. Mitsubishi Motors has also revealed plans to build plug-in hybrid vehicles in Thailand. The Thai Board of Investment is offering incentives for hybrid, plug-in and battery-powered EV manufacturers include tax holidays of five to eight years and import duty exemptions for cars and machinery.
The government wants Thailand to be the global hub for EVs and wants to see 1.2 million EVs and 690 charging stations in the country by 2036.
Among the foreign companies that are being attracted by the Thai market is BMW, which is placing high hopes on electric cars, seeing a promising outlook amid a growing market globally as well as locally. Christian Wiedmann, president of BMW Group Thailand, said the German carmaker would continue churning out new models of its electric vehicles (EVs) due to confidence in the global market expansion, with Thailand included. In Thailand, BMW has expanded the market for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEVs] over the past three years, with sales growing by 44% per year.
Thai companies are recognizing the potential of the market too. For example, Thailand’s petroleum giant PTT Group is shifting its business towards dealerships for electric vehicles (EVs) and making the batteries that power them.
(Sources: Wards IS Automotive; The Nation; NHK)
Germany is investing around THB 690 million (USD 22 million) in a new Thai climate programme to be implemented over a period of four years, from 2018 to 2021. The programme is financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and is implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH).
GIZ, which is owned by the German government, provides services in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. It works on behalf of public and private sector clients both in Germany and overseas. For this programme, the GIZ team of international and national experts is providing cross-sectoral support and works closely with its Thai governmental partners.
BMU’s IKI is providing EUR 17.9 million (THB 690 million) to the Thai Government for the 4-year implementation. This will see governmental partners, the private sector and civil society cooperate on climate-friendly development approaches in the energy, waste, water and agriculture sector as well as on general aspects of climate change. The main implementing partners are the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the Ministry of Energy, the Pollution Control Department, the Department of Water Resources, and the Rice Department.
This new Thai-German Climate Programme (TGCP) leverages GIZ´s long-standing relationship with Thai partners in the field of climate change to implement a large-scale cross-sectoral programme. Since 2009, the German Federal Environment Ministry has financed more than 13 bilateral projects with a total value of nearly EUR 50 million (about THB 1.9 billion) in Thailand focusing on mitigating CO2 emissions and helping Thailand to adapt to climate change as well as to protect forest areas and biodiversity. GIZ will further seek close cooperation with other projects in Thailand on climate change to ensure that the international support is implemented as effectively as possible.
At the TGCP launch, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Peter Prügel, said, " “The technical and financial cooperation of our two countries Thailand and Germany dates back to over 60 years ago – and has been very successful in almost uncountable number of projects. Today – the strong push for an accelerated development of Thailand’s economy and the entailed high demand for energy, keeps up the pressure on the Thai Government to support a framework that aims at more sustainable sourcing, more energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, emphasised Thailand‘s commitment to work towards acheiving the climate goals set in the country's first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submission as part of the Paris Agreement.
"Thailand has set itself ambitious CO2-mitigation targets and adaptation goals. We have formulated an NDC Mitigation Roadmap outlining sectoral measures to achieve our targets. Furthermore, by the end of 2018, Thailand will launch our National Adaptation Plan for adaptation goals. Thailand is thus on track in setting a path domestically to contribute to global efforts to fight climate change. The Thai-German cooperation, particularly the Thai-German Climate Programme, has greatly contributed to our efforts, and I am happy that we can extend our cooperation and jointly implement this new climate programme.” Dr. Wijarn added.
(Source: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, The Nation)
Nissan recently asked Frost & Sullivan to conduct research on the Future of Electric Vehicles in South East Asia. In Thailand, over 300 people participated in the study, which showed that, despite low Electric Vehicles (EV) uptake, consumers are mostly very aware of the differences between various EV technologies.
According to the report, there is significant latent demand for EVs in Thailand, with 44% of respondents saying they would consider an EV when they make their next purchase decision.
The survey also found that Electric Vehicle intenders are relatively young and have a strong concern about the environment. Compared to other countries in the region, the intention to purchase an electric vehicle was found to be among the highest in Thailand, with prospective customers ready to pay up to 50% more to own electric vehicle than they would for a comparable conventional internal combustion engine driven car.
In this context, the Thai government has declared that the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project will also serve as a prototype for the use of electric vehicles in Thailand. It is looking at the EEC as a scheme to adopt green technology, not only for transportation but also the use of renewable energy sources.
(Sources: Frost & Sullivan; Bangkok Post; Nissan Thailand)
Thai energy firm B. Grimm Power has secured a loan of USD 235 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to develop renewable energy projects in South East Asia as renewable energy is becoming a critical factor in meeting the energy needs of the region.
B. Grimm will use the loan for supporting its ASEAN Distributed Power Project, which aims at tapping utility-scale solar, wind, biomass, waste-to-energy, gas-fired power, energy storage and distributed generation across Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
It is expected that B.Grimm Power’s total distributed power generation capacity will increase by more than 50% to 2.5GW by 2022, and the share of renewables in the energy mix is forecasted to rise from 10% to 30%. Currently, B. Grimm Power has a total power capacity of 1,779MW, and operates 13 gas-fired plants.
Thailand has established itself as South East Asia’s leader for the production of renewable electricity. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the country is the regional leader in solar power use, having broken into the top 15 globally in 2016, with a capacity of more than 3,000 MW. Moreover, the government plans to reach 3,000 MW of wind energy by 2036, up from around 615 MW in 2017.
Wind Energy Holdings (WEH) is Thailand’s biggest wind power generator and it has plans to also invest into other sources of electricity including solar, hydro and biomass to back up its capacity and to address the issue of night-time winds or unused wind-powered electricity that goes to waste at night.
Philippine-listed water and wastewater services provider Manila Water Company Inc announced that it will acquire an 18.72% stake in Thailand water supply and distribution company Eastern Water Resources Development and Management Public Company Limited. This marks the entry of Manila Water into Thailand.
East Water provides raw and tap water supply services in the eastern region of Thailand—the country’s main industrial area and home to various heavy industries; including automotive, electronics, and petrochemicals. Currently, East Water provides raw water supply to three (3) provinces; holds concession contracts to operate in eleven (11) different locations, and provides water service to several industrial estates.
The acquisition is aligned with Manila Water’s strategy to focus in South East Asia where they see growth particularly in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), an initiative by the Thai government to further develop the country’s eastern seaboard into a leading economic zone in the ASEAN. The EEC is aimed to be a hub for technological manufacturing and services, with strong connectivity to its ASEAN neighbors by land, sea, and air. The Thailand government expects investments of over USD 43 billion for the realization of the EEC over the next several years.
(Source: Manila Water)
Japanese gas company Osaka Gas has collaborated with Thailand-based palm products manufacturer and seller Agriculture of Basin Company (ABC) to launch a pilot project which can help ascertain feasibility of supplying natural gas to vehicles by continuously removing carbon dioxide and other purities from biogas.
At its palm oil factory, ABC will digest organic matter contained in factory wastewater to generate biogas, which will be subsequently refined by Osaka Gas into methane. ABC will then use the refined methane as fuel in its own natural gas powered vehicles. The pilot project is scheduled to run for roughly one year, during which time OSAKA GAS will test operate a 250 Nm3/h biogas refining facility that assumes commercial deployment. The project will focus on a verification of a long-time based stable operation and methods to minimize the cost of producing methane gas, as well as determine the effectiveness of the methane produced as a vehicle fuel.
Thailand has been chosen as the location for the pilot due to the prominence of the country’s agriculture industry which translates to an abundance of biomass resources. The ultimate goal of the pilot is to realize a full commercial operation.
(Sources: BioEnergy Insight; BusinessWire)
Suez, WHA Utilities & Power, and Glow Energy, have formed the Chonburi Clean Energy (CCE) joint venture that has begun work on an industrial waste-to-energy (WtE) power plant at the Hemaraj Chonburi Industrial Estate in Chonburi, Thailand. The plant, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, is designed to have an operating capacity of 8.63 MW, and handle a waste volume of about 100,000 tons per year. CCE will provide operation and maintenance services for 20 years. Marubeni will act as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project.
The project helps the Thai government in pursuing sustainability and a circular economy as part of the Thailand 4.0 strategy. The CCE plant is Suez's first WtE project in South East Asia. By building the plant in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), it is looking to support the country’s pioneering development plans and provide waste management services to companies attracted by the government’s investment policy for the EEC.
The government of Thailand plans to increase WtE production as set out in its Power Development Plan 2015 – 2036. Its target for energy generation from municipal solid waste in its revised Alternative Energy Development Plan in 2015 was increased to 500 MW from 160 MW in the 2012 version.
(Sources: Cleantechnology Business Review; Renewables Now; Bioenergy International)
Malaysia's Ranhill Holdings Bhd’s unit has secured a THB 152.58 million (USD 4.7 million) build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession agreement for a reclamation water treatment plant in Rayong, Thailand. Expected to begin in January 2018, the concession period is 20 years, including the construction period of 10 months. Ranhill’s contract includes the building of a 7 million liters per day (MLD) water treatment plant located at Amata City Phase 4 Industrial Estate, which was awarded to its indirect subsidiary AnuRAK Water Treatment Facilities Co. Ltd by Amata Water Co Ltd. The plant will be used to treat treated waste water to enable reuse for industrial purposes.
At present, Ranhill and AnuRAK already have an existing 10 MLD water reclamation plant in Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate, Chonburi. Operating since 2012, the plant has been producing treated water for industrial reuse purposes. Thus, this new project will expand the Ranhill’s reuse and recycle treatment capacity in Thailand to 17 MLD.
(Sources: Thailand Construction; New Straits Times)
Austria-based international technology group Andritz has received the order from Marubeni to supply an EcoFluid fluidized bed boiler with flue gas cleaning system for a waste-to-energy power plant at SCG Packaging’s Ban Pong paper mill, located in Ratchaburi, Thailand. The equipment and technologies supplied by Andritz will be used to generate electricity from thermal utilization of residue occurring in production operations using a recycled paper furnish. Start-up is scheduled for the third quarter of 2018.
The fluidized bed boiler will be Thailand’s first of its kind that operates with 100% waste fuel and also the first boiler at SCG Paper Energy Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of SCG Packaging. The Andritz scope of supply comprises the engineering work, equipment delivery, and supervision services for erection work and start-up of the fluidized bed boiler, including a flue gas cleaning system and auxiliary equipment.
The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) of Thailand, a Thai state enterprise which is responsible for production and supply of tap water in a metropolitan area of Thailand, has signed an MOU to cooperate in the water sector with three South Korean organizations. The three organizations are Daewoo E&C, the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute and the Eco Smart Waterworks Development Group. Under this MOU, each organization will share its technology and know-how in waterworks systems through the networking of professional human resources and technical exchange workshops.
According to Global Water Intelligence (GWI), Thailand’s water service market has a great growth potential, given that the country is planning to expand its waterworks in metropolitan areas with an investment of USD 1.2 trillion.
Thailand's MWA supplies water to about 10 million citizens by operating four water purification plants in the Bangkok metropolitan area and producing between 5 million and 5.5 million cubic meters per day.
(Sources: BusinessKorea; Global Water Intelligence)
The Thai government has stated that it is considering establishing a single water management body that will oversee the policies of different water management agencies in Thailand. The role of the new agency, which is tentatively called "National Office of Water Resources" will include setting overall water management policies and overseeing the operations of all relevant agencies such as Royal Irrigation Department, the Provincial Waterworks Authority and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. This will help to improve the coordination between water management agencies and avoid any overlap tasks and duties.
There are five major water management activities and issues that the government aims to focus on once the new water agency is confirmed, and these include consumption, agriculture and industry, ecosystems, flood relief and drought relief.
(Source: The Nation)
Thailand's new Waste Management Act has been revised and is under review by the National Legislative Assembly. The new law is expected to create appropriate waste management regulations to match waste-to-power technology, and energy policymakers are looking to revise the rules to allow local administrators to invest with private firms under public-private partnerships (PPPs). The revised rules will make the WTE projects worth commercial investment, and will also benefit local administrations, particularly those with dense populations, such as Bangkok, and the provinces of Nonthaburi, Phuket and Songkhla. Thailand is estimated to produce an average of 70,000 tonnes of waste per day, which would be converted to a maximum of 2,000 megawatts of power.
Thailand's third largest cement maker, TPI Polene Power Plc, is readying itself to invest in various WTE projects nationwide, once the regulations are revised, and is expecting to raise its combined power generating capacity from its current 150MW to 440MW by the end of 2017.
(Source: Bangkok Post)
Thailand has acceded to the international conventions on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) and the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Fund). The CLC Convention ensures that compensation is available to people who suffer oil pollution damage from maritime casualties involving oil-carrying ships, and places liability on the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil escaped or was discharged. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) provide additional financial compensation for oil pollution damage that occurs in Member States, resulting from spills of persistent oil from tankers.
Interestingly, in May 2017, the Indonesian government sued Thailand's state-owned PTT and PTT Exploration and Production for around $2 billion for alleged damage to the environment from an oil spill in the Timor Sea eight years ago. PTTEP has decided to suspect its investment in Indonesia until the lawsuit is concluded.
(Sources: Hellenic Shipping News, World Maritime News, Reuters)
A report on pollution in Thailand has been released by the Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH) revealing serious issues at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong, on-going problems at gold mines in Phichit and Loei and constant environmental conflicts in relation to waste management and coal-fired power plant projects.
Residents living in those areas have been significantly affected by high amounts of toxic substances in the environment that are beyond safe levels that cause high rates of cancer. In the past two years, there were 35 landfill fires, 22 reported incidents of illegal waste dumping and 11 oil spills in Thai waters. These problems highlight the flows in Thailand’s environmental protection system. Precautionary approach is required to be taken when handling with pollution control and reform environmental laws.
(Sources: The Nation, Topix)
Chiang Mai, located in the North of Thailand is considered the country’s most-polluted metropolis in terms of dangerously small pollutants. In 2016, this northern city had the highest levels of the fine particulate pollution that is invisible to the naked eye and can be harmful to human health. The cause of this issue, specifically in the city district, is the outdoor burning and transportation within the city. Trucks have been sent to spray water in order to disperse haze and make the air feel less polluted. Despite this quick fix, the PM 2.5 still lingers in the air which exceeds world standards.
(Sources: Khaosod, Good Non Profit)
According to the Pollution Control Department (PCD), water quality at marine tourism attractions along the Andaman Sea coasts of Pang-Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trand and Satun have been tested and found to be good or very good. Similar inspections were conducted in the Gulf of Thailand in Surat Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Petchaburi and it was discovered that the water is of moderate to very good quality.
(Sources: Pattaya Mail, Andaman)
Wastewater remains a significant environmental issue for Thailand as Thai laws are still too weak to control and reduce water pollution. This problem was highlighted by an incident that occurred in October 2016, where there was a massive die-off of giant freshwater stingrays in the Mae Klong River due to poor water quality caused by upstream wastewater discharge.
Though the overview of water pollution in Thailand slightly improved from earlier 2016, according to The Pollution Control Department’s annual pollution report, it is evident that the country is still facing severe water pollution problems in many river basins especially the Chao Phraya, Tha Chin, and Rayong River basins, which are the main industrial bases of the country. Furthermore, the agricultural sector discharged up to 39 million cubic meters of wastewater per day last year, making it the largest pollutant in the country. This is followed by the industrial sector that discharged up to 17.8 million cubic meters per day, while the residential sector ranked third with 9.6 million cubic meters per day. Due to weak law enforcement and poor monitoring systems, the efficiency of wastewater treatment processes in the residential sector was only 18% effective and only 52% of wastewater was treated.
(Sources: The Nation, The Hindu)
Thailand's tourist islands do not have proper waste disposal systems, leading to reckless dumping of garbage into the sea. An island of garbage, about 10 kilometers long and weighing at approximately 100 tons, was found floating in the Gulf of Thailand, moving north towards Koh Talu Island and the resort areas of the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, the popular tourist destinations.
The garbage island contained mostly plastic, which is a threat to marine life such as dolphins and turtles who may mistakenly take them for jellyfish and also to coral, that can be killed by plastic that sinks to the bottom.
The Royal Thai Navy and Marine Coastal Resources Department have started a 10-day operation to clean up the trash, however, it was interrupted due to unfavorable weather conditions. Due to tides and wind, some of the trash had started to wash up on local beaches and stronger winds and waves are predicted in the coming days.
(Sources: Natural News, Bangkok Post)
During the meeting of the Provincial Trash and Wastewater Committee held in Phuket, Vice Governor Teera has ordered the Phuket officials to take action cleaning up the streets and dump sites across Phuket. Other issues of concern include garbage collection practices by local municipalities across the island and the current capability of the municipal incinerator at Saphan Hin – the only large-scale incinerator in Phuket. Furthermore, there is a project of installation of wastewater treatment facilities along the canal that runs through Samkong, the north side of Phuket Town. The Vice Governor addressed the seriousness of these environmental problems and has ordered every relevant government office to take steps immediately.
(Sources: Phuket News, Phuket Gazette)
Thailand aims to reduce the number of hotspots in 2017 by 30% in an effort to tackle the haze problem caused by forest fires in many provinces in the northern region. In 2016, the government was able to reduce the number of hotspots by 20%, against the number in 2015. An official report showed that between 1 January and 31 May 2016, there were a total number of 10,601 hotspots, and forest fires caused damage to an area of 4,232 acres in the country.
According to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, there will be two additional measures implemented in 2017 to deal with forest fires and haze pollution. One of them is to raise public awareness against burning forests, and the other is to boost morale for officials in their positions to ease the problem. Tighter controls would also be imposed on burning in various agricultural areas.
The government will set up campaigns against forest fires from 1 February to 10 April 2017. They will provide over 700 villages with necessary equipment to deal with forest fires. Each target village will also be given a fund of THB 50,000 for their operations. Additionally, Thailand will host a meeting with neighboring countries from in January 2017 to work out a joint operation plan to deal effectively with the haze problem.
(Sources: The Government Public Relations Department)
Thailand has an estimated 106 landfill sites, and 30.9 million metric tonnes of improperly disposed waste per year. Only 19% of its 2,490 waste disposal facilities operate in line with proper standards. The rest dispose of garbage through risky methods, such as burning piles of garbage in open fields.
The country has, however, been slow to adopt WTE technologies. Despite ample raw material (both agricultural residue and municipal waste), there is only 135 MW of installed capacity from local WTE projects, or less than 1% of the country's energy consumption. As a comparison, Thailand has 2,707 MW of installed capacity for biomass, 1,330 MW of solar, 367 MW of biogas and 225 MW of wind power.
Presently the country has five types of WTE technologies - landfill gas, anaerobic digestion, gasification, refuse-derived fuel and incineration. Incineration presently makes up 75% of capacity.
(Sources: Norway Asia Business Review)