BANGKOK / PRAGUE Pollution of air, soil, and the food chain has reached extreme levels in Thailand, as shown by the long-term measurements conducted by the environmental organizations Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH) and Arnika (1). NGOs and the communities that are affected are now asking the authorities to introduce a mandatory system to monitor emissions of harmful substances from industrial plants and factories. Data should be reported in a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR), an effective mechanism of public control that has proved its worth in reducing pollution in European countries and has contributed to the safety of communities.
According to several expert analyses from the NGOs EARTH (2) and Arnika (3) focusing on different toxic hotspots in Thailand (4), people living near industrial sites do not have any official data on pollutants in emissions, they do not know to what extent the local industry can negatively affect their land, water, air, and the sources of their food, and they cannot defend themselves effectively against the damage to their health and valuable resources. Thai fishermen are noticing an increasing number of dying fish, the main source of food and communities' livelihood. Very dangerous organic pollutants are unfortunately ubiquitous in the Thai environment. Pollution is caused mainly by industrial activity.
“What we in Thailand actually need is an effective Pollutant Release and Transfer Register – to identify specific polluters and chemicals, to establish strict norms, and to collect the data regularly. This needs to be fully accessible for everyone so that we would all have free access to important environmental data affecting our health. It would also help lawsuits to be solved faster, not like the cases of the Wax Garbage Recycling Centre or Win Process Company, which took decades of complaints and petitions from local communities. We are well aware of the importance of capacitating and empowering communities affected by industrial pollution and their role in implementing a PRTR and we definitely want to support that,” explained Penchom Saetang, director of EARTH.
China is a global hotbed for chemically-intensive electronics manufacturing. Inventories of chemical releases known as Pollutant Release and Transfer Registries (PRTR) are a key chemical safety measure for industry accountability. The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) and IPEN jointly released the report, “PRTR: Establishing a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register in China,” on May 8, 2018 in Beijing, China. The report introduces voluntary disclosure efforts undertaken by local departments and NGOs and emphasizes the importance of establishing a mandatory PRTR system with publicly accessible information. The two organizations also convened a discussion with representatives from academia, business and environmental groups on using a PRTR disclosure system to strengthen the management of hazardous chemicals.
Today, top-tens of the biggest polluters of Kazakhstan based on the official data were published. The charts reveal that the environment has been greatly contaminated by steelworks Kazakhmys and ArcelorMittal, oil companies KazMunaiGas and KazTransOil and power plant in Ekibastuz. Interactive map of facilities that exceed the safe threshold limits valid in the EU (1) is now available in clearly understandable form on-line at www.ecocitizens.kz.
Eco-Accord, IPEN Regional Hub for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), prepared an overview of information from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and EECCA countries about the need to report emissions and releases from obsolete pesticide stockpiles through pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR) systems in EECCA countries.