Residents file pollution complaint with court
www.bangkokpost.com 3 Oct 50
Rayong _ Residents of Map Ta Phut have filed a complaint with the provincial administrative court against Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Kosit Panpiemras and the National Environment Board for failing to declare Map Ta Phut a pollution control area.
In their complaint lodged on Monday, 27 representatives of people living in 11 pollution-affected communities accused the NEB and Mr Kosit, the board chairman, of negligence of duty.
Declaring the tambon a pollution control zone would require the government to contribute more resources to solving pollution problems in the area.
Surachai Trongngam, who led the residents group and represents the Environmental Law Centre, an independent law group, said the complaint was lodged to protect the rights of residents who were exposed to toxic chemicals released from factories in Map Ta Phut.
The group asked the court to inquire whether the agencies responsible had taken any steps to tackle the pollution, as they were required to do by law.
He was confident that evidence submitted to the court showed that the NEB and Mr Kosit were negligent in their duties.
''Our main evidence is the results of scientific inquiries and recommendations from the Pollution Control Department, which state clearly that Map Ta Phut areas have pollution problems, particularly air pollution,'' he said.
The department had forwarded its recommendations to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, which had agreed that Map Ta Phut should be declared a pollution control zone, he said.
''The ministry later handed the recommendations to the NEB.
''However, the NEB resolved on Jan 11 this year not to declare the area a pollution-control zone as recommended,'' said Mr Surachai.
The representatives submitted to the court the findings of a study by the National Cancer Institute, which found the incidence of respiratory disease and lung cancer in the Map Ta Phut area was significantly higher than in other areas in the country.
Suthi Atchasai, coordinator of the Eastern People Network, said a number of residents of Map Ta Phut suffer from respiratory ailments and cancer, but their plight had been ignored.