Toxic Waste: Voluntary reporting not working

Chemical fires & leaks at Map Ta Phut left many dead & injured. Required reporting of hazardous chemical usage may be needed.

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HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS

Agency wants mandatory reporting for firms

5/06/2012
Apinya Wipatayotin

Manufacturers should have to report to authorities whenever they use hazardous chemicals during their production or cleaning processes, says the Pollution Control Department.

Manufacturers in Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong province have been asked to submit a Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) report for almost a year.

However, complying is still on a voluntary basis, Sunee Piyapanpong, Pollution Control Department deputy director general, said.

She said that not only should this become a mandatory requirement at Map Ta Phut, but it should be extended to all plants countrywide.

"We are going to push for a ministerial regulation requiring all plants to report [their use of hazardous chemicals]," Ms Sunee said.

But the problem is we have no authority to order the industrial sector directly so we [have to] ask for cooperation from the Industrial Works Department.
The department has listed at least 80 chemical substances which are harmful to health and the environment and should be included in any PRTR report.

Wichian Jungrungruang, the Pollution Control Department director-general, said the PRTR report would tell the public which chemicals had been used, in what quantities, and how much was released into the air.

"It will help us learn what types of toxic chemical substances are used and how much of them are stocked, which would be useful in managing emergencies," he said.

Mr Wichian said the lack of such information was a factor in two recent major incidents in Map Ta Phut - a fire at Elastomers Co's plant which killed 12 people and hurt more than 140 others on May 5, and the leak of a toxic substance into the atmosphere from Aditya Birla Chemicals on May 6 in which residents had to be admitted to the hospital after inhaling the chemicals.

(Source: Bangkok Post, HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS, Agency wants mandatory reporting for firms, 5/06/2012, Apinya Wipatayotin, link

Toxic Waste Vocabulary

toxic - poisonous and harmful to people, animals or the environment เป็นพิษ
toxic chemical substances

toxic waste -
"waste material that can cause death, injury or birth defects ...used interchangeably with “hazardous waste”, or discarded material that can pose a long-term risk to health or environment. Hazardous wastes are poisonous byproducts of manufacturing, farming, city septic systems, construction, automotive garages, laboratories, hospitals, and other industries. The waste may be liquid, solid, or sludge and contain chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, dangerous pathogens, or other toxins. Even households generate hazardous waste from items such as batteries, used computer equipment, and leftover paints or pesticides..

"In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state departments oversee the rules that regulate hazardous waste. The EPA requires that toxic waste be handled with special precautions and be disposed of in designated facilities around the country. Also, many cities in the United States have collection days where household toxic waste is gathered. Some materials that may not be accepted at regular landfills are ammunition, commercially generated waste, explosives/shock sensitive items, hypodermic needles/syringes, medical waste, radioactive materials, and smoke detectors."

(See Wikipedia)

hazardous (adjective) - can cause harm, dangerous, especially to people's health or safety
hazard (noun)
hazardous chemicals

mandatory - required (not optional) เป็นข้อบังคับ
mandatory requirement

mandatory reporting
agency wants mandatory reporting for firms

voluntary - an action that is done because you choose to do it and not because you have to ด้วยความสมัครใจ
on a voluntary basis - you can do it if you want (but you don't have to do it), not required, not mandatory

authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)

Manufacturers should have to report to authorities whenever they use hazardous chemicals during their production or cleaning processes, says the Pollution Control Department.

submit - to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
submit a report

Manufacturers in Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong province have been asked to submit a Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) report for almost a year.

complying - following rules or laws
complying is still on a voluntary basis

However, complying is still on a voluntary basis, Sunee Piyapanpong, Pollution Control Department deputy director general, said.

plants - factories
extended to all plants countrywide.
mandatory requirement 
extended to all plants countrywide.

She said that not only should this become a mandatory requirement at Map Ta Phut, but it should be extended to all plants countrywide.

regulation - an official government rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ  ระเบียบข้อบังคับ
ministerial regulation

push for - try hard to make something happen
push for a ministerial regulation

"We are going to push for a ministerial regulation requiring all plants to report [their use of hazardous chemicals]," Ms Sunee said.

authority - power อำนาจ the power to make decisions and control events or tell people what to do อำนาจ, อำนาจในการสั่งการ
have no authority to ... - do not have the power to do ... or order others to do ....

sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
industrial sector - all the companies that manufacture goods from cars to food products

cooperation - working together to achieve a goal ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
ask for cooperation from

order -
tell someone to do something
order indirectly - to tell someone to tell someone to do something
order directly - to tell someone to do something

But the problem is we have no authority to order the industrial sector directly so we ask for cooperation from the Industrial Works Department.

chemical substances
environment - the natural world of land, sea, plants, and animals
released into the air - allowed to enter the air

The department has listed at least 80 chemical substances which are harmful to health and the environment and should be included in any PRTR report. Wichian Jungrungruang, the Pollution Control Department director-general, said the PRTR report would tell the public which chemicals had been used, in what quantities, and how much was released into the air.

stocked - have in investory, in stock, available

"It will help us learn what types of toxic chemical substances are used and how much of them are stocked, which would be useful in managing emergencies," he said.

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of information

factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย

incidents - events which are either unpleasant or unusual เหตุการณ์
major incidents

a factor in two recent major incidents

Map Ta Phut -
an industrial estate in Rayong that has a lot of chemical factories and was closed down for a time by the administrative court
industrial estate - an special area for factories that has special infrastructure such as transportation, water, electricity and waste disposal

atmosphere - the air in a place

leak - (of a liquid or gas) flow out of a hole or crack รั่ว
leak of a toxic substance into the atmosphere

residents
- people who live in a particular place or area ชาวบ้านในบริเวณ ผู้อาศัยในบริเวณ

admitted -
allowed to enter some place such as a school to study or hospital to get medical treatment
admitted to hospital

inhale - to breathe in something
inhaling the chemicals

admitted to hospital after inhaling the chemicals

Mr Wichian said the lack of such information was a factor in two recent major incidents in Map Ta Phut - a fire at Elastomers Co's plant which killed 12 people and hurt more than 140 others on May 5, and the leak of a toxic substance into the atmosphere from Aditya Birla Chemicals on May 6 in which residents had to be admitted to hospital after inhaling the chemicals.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer