PM calls for green plan for Rayong and pollution clampdown
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday instructed authorities to turn now-polluted Rayong into a role model for environmental-quality management."We have received many complaints about pollution in Rayong. So, I hope the Industry Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and provincial authorities will draw up action plans to ensure local factories are environmentally friendly. We need a green plan," she said as she inspected the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in the province.
The inspection was made ahead of her mobile Cabinet meeting this week.
Yingluck also assigned Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit to demarcate proper zoning in Rayong to determine which zones should be allocated as residential areas and which should be marked for factories.
"Also, people should be inculcated with environmental concerns. Campaigns must be launched to make locals around industrial zones love and know how to take care of the environment," she said.
Rayong Governor Senee Jitkasem said his provincial government in collaboration with the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) had already worked out both short- and long-term plans to ensure factories in Rayong-based industrial estates comply with environmental laws and regulations.
He said inspections had been carried out at factories needing the renewal of their operating licences. If inspections showed the factories were below standard, they would be instructed to improve their systems.
IEAT governor Veerapong Chaiperm said his agency had implemented a clear-cut plan on the reduction and prevention of pollution.
Yingluck said an information centre should also be set up to facilitate the relief and rescue operations in the event of emergencies.
"Life-saving operations are the priority. Also, factories should be advised as to how to relocate their machinery to safe places if a flood hits. We have to be well prepared. We need to learn a lesson from the big flood last year," the prime minister said.
She also listened to reports on how authorities had investigated the fatal fire that erupted at the BST Elastomers in Rayong's Map Ta Phut area last month.
"We have also provided remedial action for people affected [by that fire]," Senee said.
During Yingluck's trip to the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, residents of Sapsomboon Village in Rayong's Bang Chang district showed up to seek her help.
"After buying houses, we have been told this housing estate has been located in a forest reserve," said residents' representative Prateep Kohkaeo, who was accompanied by more than 100 affected people.
Yingluck instructed Yongyuth to look into the complaint and provide help for the residents.
"We have lived there for about eight years already. But during the past four or five years, the Royal Forest Department has accused us of encroaching on forestland," said Nan Saengsuwan, one of the people affected.