Lecture 6: Water management in Rayong

by Yoshihiro Mihara, Hokkaido University

In Thailand’s Rayong province, many kinds of pollutants are discharged in aquatic environment from daily industrial activities and sometimes by accident. For example, a great amount of crude oil was spilled into the Gulf of Thailand by the recent accident with the leaking pipeline in 2013. Waste water and sediment produced by petrochemical factory contain high amounts of pollution such as lead, arsenic, mercury and toxic organic substances that contribute to significant contamination of surrounding soils, rivers, sea, ground water and even atmosphere. The abnormal pregnancies could also have long-term health impacts on babies, especially their nervous systems, according to information provided by Dr. Somporn Kamolsiripichaiporn from Chulalongkorn University. These pollutants should be monitored to be removed from the environment as soon as possible. A safe method to analyse hazardous materials in the environment, in the air, soil and/or water are required. The high-level pollution aqueous waste is monitored through water quality using various standard methods, e.g., biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and quantitative analysis for toxic metals and organics, in order to achieve a reduction in bulk volume and to allow the greater part of the waste stream to be treated as low-level waste in an aquatic environment, as Dr. Chayawee Wangcharoenrungi emphasized. Therefore, many kinds of remediation technology have been developed. For example, the new type of adsorbent with surface modification and methane forming technology makes it physically and chemically possible for the hazardous materials to separate in the water, as Dr. Tanapon Phenrat demonstrated with his research. Environmental Research and Training Center introduced a system to facilitate water recycling and pollution abatement, and to reduce water consumption. Even with facilitation by many companies and their networks, as Dr. Fairda Malem observed, the support and cooperation of stakeholders, the main owners of the strategy for eco-industrial estate development, are crucial to improving the quality of life of communities in addition to enhancing environmental quality and business success.