Enforcement and Compliance News
Licence extension linked to gold mine ‘to be based on scientific data
Apr 24 2016
A team from four ministries yesterday visited Chatree gold mine in Phichit to inspect the mine and get information from both opponents and supporters of the gold mine.
The officials were led by Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsat-ayadorn, Science Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj, and Pollution Control Department chief Wijarn Simachaya, who represented the Natural Resource and Environment Minister.
Atchaka said the assessment on renewing the metallurgy licence would be finalised prior to the deadline on May 13, when the mine's licence expires, but for now the minister was not able to say if the licence would be renewed or not....
Neighbouring countries to get devices to check air-quality
Apr 21 2016
THAILAND HAS installed devices for air-quality checks in Laos, and will make similar installations in Myanmar and Cambodia in a bid to fight the threat of smog.
Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Wijarn Simachaya disclosed yesterday that the installation in Vientiane had already been completed.
"Next year, we will install similar devices in the two other neighbouring countries," he said.
Because wind can blow unhealthy smoke from one country to another, smog has been a shared threat in the region. Hotpots in nearby countries can affect Thailand. "We have already written to the Asean secretary-general, asking for help in getting Myanmar, Laos and...
Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths
Apr 21 2016
Vietnam said on Thursday it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.
Tonnes of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.
“We have never seen anything like it,” aquaculture official Nhu Van Can told AFP on Thursday.
The strange situation first came to light when farmed fish in the area began dying in great numbers, he said, with locals later discovering huge numbers of dead...
Microbots Could Play Key Role in Cleaning Up Our Water Systems
Apr 18 2016
What if we could not only clean up the heavy metals in our water systems, but also recycle those metals and reuse them?
A new study from the Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain suggests that, soon, we might be doing just that.
Scientists have developed microbots with the ability to clean up 95 percent of heavy metal waste from water systems within an hour.
Microbots, essentially tiny robots, are designed for specific purposes. Most — like the ones in this study — are smaller in diameter than a strand of human hair.
Made of three layers, the microbots propel themselves around polluted waterways...
Lao e-waste plant raises pollution concerns
Apr 8 2016
An industrial plant that mines cast-off electronics for their valuable metals appears to be pumping polluted waste water into the neighborhood surrounding Vientiane’s Special Economic Zone causing contamination levels to jump dramatically, local residents told RFA’s Lao Service.
The Hokeng Metal Processing Co. plant located in Nonthong village in Vientiane’s Saythany district reclaims copper, lead and other valuable minerals from computers, televisions, batteries and other castoff electronics, and then resells the metals to customers worldwide.
“I see the plant drain the waste water into the surrounding fields, and during the rainy season it will spread to other areas,”...
With New Tools, A Focus On Urban Methane Leaks
Apr 4 2016
Battered by storms and weakened with age, the natural gas distribution pipes of urban New Jersey have long been in need of repair. And for a long time, the state’s largest utility, Public Service and Enterprise Group (PSE&G), has wanted to replace them. The problem is that pipelines cost upwards of $1.3 million per mile, and the utility owns 4,330 miles of them. Replacing it all would cost at least $6 billion, not to mention decades of work.
In December 2014, however, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) approached the utility with a solution. Using new technology that can trace methane emissions back to their sources with great precision,researchers could home in on the...
Lao PDR prepares ‘polluter pays’ legislation
Mar 28 2016
The government of Lao PDR is preparing legislation for a scheme that will see industrial enterprises pay for the pollution they cause.
A Presidential Provision on Environmental Tax is expected to be submitted to the President’s Office this year and if approved will give a legal mandate for a ‘polluter pays’ scheme that aims to incentivize industries to adopt cleaner technologies and practices. Proponents also hope it will generate enough revenue to help develop a national pollution monitoring system as well as mitigate or offset some of the environmental damage from pollution.
The Presidential Provision will outline the structure of the scheme, including target pollutants...
Air Force, officials tackle smog
Mar 25 2016
‘Water flights’ planned to counter pollution in Chiang Rai as residents risk health problems; agricultural fires blamed
SEVEN provinces in the North are now suffering bad air pollution, with Chiang Rai the hardest-hit and residents at risk of developing health problems. As of yesterday, the amount of small dust particles (PM10) in Chiang Rai jumped to 304 micrograms per cubic metre of air - far over the safe level of 120 micrograms.
In a bid to help ease the air-quality problem, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will dispatch planes to spray water to mitigate the problem.
The level of air pollution could affect the health of people in the area, the Pollution Control...
Haze forces 64,000 into hospitals in the North
Mar 22 2016
Dr Suraphan Sangsawang, acting director of the Regional Health Promotion Centre 10 Chiang Mai, said reports from 90 hospitals in the area showed that the number of patients with coronary artery and respiratory diseases had increased dramatically as the region's haze worsened last week.
Suraphan said Chiang Mai had the highest number of patients at 17,359, followed by Chiang Rai at 11,779 and Lampang at 10,228.
The volume of particulate matter with a maximum diameter of 10 microns (PM10) rose yesterday above the safe level of 120 micrograms per cubic metre in many Northern provinces. According to the Pollution Control Department, the three districts with the highest PM10...
Polluted village demands compensation from factories
Mar 21 2016
TRANG -- Residents of a village polluted by two factories producing raw rubber sheets say they have been offered too little compensation for the daily health hazards they face.
The people of Moo 1 village in tambon Na Muang Phet, Sikao district, complain the two nearby factories have discharged polluted water and emitted foul smells, causing hundreds of adults and children to suffer from chronic coughing, lung ailments and asthma for more than two years.
Many of them had been admitted to Trang Hospital for treatment, and some of them would be needing medical care for the rest of their lives. They said seven children were in a serious condition.
The villagers had...