Increased production and consumption of goods and services, a world population that has topped seven billion people, more people achieving a middle class lifestyle, and a lack of care for environmental considerations has led to increased pollution and waste, which is negatively impacting human health, environmental health, and overall quality of life around the world.
TEI has worked to support sustainable development and control pollution in Thailand by drawing up master plans, action plans, and information technology systems for local, regional, and national level organizations and communities.
Water Quality Management
In 1996, TEI was chosen by the Pollution Control Department to develop an action plan for the Chao Phraya, Tah Chin and Mae Klong River basin. TEI supported the department’s efforts to collect water quality and pollution source data for the 3 basins and estimate water quality over the next 30 years. TEI used new information technology systems and the water quality model “Mike 11” to project the capacity of these 3 rivers to handle pollution and to give guidance for controlling pollution growth.
In 2005, TEI played a lead role in drawing up Thailand National Master Plan for water quality management, which outlined a framework and guidelines to rehabilitate and reduce pollution in water sources. TEI also conducted in-depth, sector specific research in order to understand how different sectors (across the public and private spheres) participated in water management and water pollution issues. This also included location-specific analyses at locations such as Bang Pa Kong River and Songkhla Lake. Additional projects brought together experts from many sectors to work together in inter-disciplinary efforts, including industries such as agricultural centers who sought to reduce pollution by using Cleaner technology and local communities who were building alliances to conserve and protect water supplies.
TEI helped develop and put in place procedures and operating guidelines declaring Tri butyl tin (TBT), which has been found in contaminate seawater and sea mussel populations, as Type 3 hazardous substance, which will ensure that products with TBT substance will have hazardous chemical labels.
Air Pollution Management
Treating and eliminating air pollution requires significant monetary and other resources. To avoid these costs, TEI has focused its efforts on reducing air pollution, or looking at the source of the issue. TEI has helped develop self-assessment guidelines to help organizations locate the source of pollution, the first step in developing solutions for reductions or elimination. TEI has also helped companies identify solutions, including by identifying non-polluting raw material to use in the production process, helping companies substitute cleaner materials into production, updating and reforming production processes, and encouraging eco-friendly product designing.
Air pollution from industrial factories came from two primary processes: burning of materials and production. The best way to eliminate emissions from burning is to reduce the amount of materials being burned; however, if elimination is not possible, steps can be taken to control burning and to control discharge through capture or other tools. Pollution from the production process can be reduced by minimizing leakage of polluting substances and using safer, less toxic chemicals. TEI has successfully helped organizations reduce both types of pollution by implementing PRTR, inventory improcements, and MSDS principles.
In addition to focusing on basic pollutants (SOx, NOx, dust, Ozone etc.), TEI has spent significant time working to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which among other harms are known to cause cancer. TEI has experts that can help factories inventory harmful chemical substances, monitor leakage, and implement pollution control in case of leakage. Currently, TEI is focusing on studying on non-point sources of VOC pollution, including from retail, agricultural, and household sources.
Open burning, conducted to satisfy a demand for a faster and more convenient harvest and replant rice, corn, sugarcane, cassava production, as well as forest burning for mushroom or sweet leaf has led to air pollution, impacts on scenery and tourism, long-term health effects. TEI has cooperated with the Pollution Control Department to systematize the burning of agricultural sector in many provinces and to help some adopt bio-path agriculture to reduce burning, smog and global warming.
Chemical pollution is dangerous and important to monitor and reduce. TEI has developed measures and tools to handle chemical pollution for several important partners, including the development of management and administration systems for local government, measurement of pollution control efforts, economic measures to control both industrial and agricultural pollution, and the development of indicators for good environmental management. TEI also sits on a committee to develop a chemical management plan for the National Committee of Strategic Development in Chemical Management.
Additionally, TEI has has helped demonstrate of the application of new technologies for management, develop guidelines for improving management, and build capacity within organizations. TEI has also developed a model school to educate young people on chemical dangers. Through this, concepts of sustainable development, global warming reduction, sufficient economy, and cost-effective and sustainable consumption of energy and natural resources have been integrated into the curriculum in school systems across Thailand. TEI has also helped schools build capacity within their faculty to continually drive youth learning around issues of environment and pollution control, a core building block for TEI’s goal of creating a low-carbon society and improving the overall quality of life for people in Thailand.
Along with ongoing work to support environmental education, pollution reduction activities, and develop cooperative alliances, TEI also helped develop the database of chemical usage of Thailand which tracks the production, import and export of dangerous chemicals. This data was analyzed to develop a comprehensive picture of chemical management in Thailand between 2007 and 2011 under the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register project.