Rayong eco-town to copy Japan lead
Factories to co-exist with communities
The government is developing a pilot project for an industrial eco-town in Rayong, based on Japan's Kitakyushu model.
Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said a recent meeting of the Eastern Seaboard Committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan endorsed the plan.
"The Kitakyushu eco-town is a good example of communities and factories living together in harmony, while Rayong is home to many industrial factories along the Eastern Seaboard," he said.
Members of the government's planning agency visited Kitakyushu from Oct 18-20 on a fact-finding tour and will map out an action plan to be submitted for government approval.
The NESDB and the Industry Ministry will collaborate with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and related agencies on the eco-town development plan.
FTI chairman Phayungsak Chartsuthipol suggests Thailand learn from the experience of several countries in this regard.
At the same time, nearby communities should offer their full cooperation with the development plan, as factories alone cannot make an eco-town, he said.
Mr Phayungsak also urged the government to promote more research into recycling to attract investment.
Kitakyushu city is located in the north of Kyushu island's Fukuoka prefecture. It has long been one of Japan's foremost areas for heavy industries such as iron manufacturing and gained valuable experience in overcoming serious environmental pollution.
After a period of high economic growth from the 1950s to the 1970s, iron manufacturing declined amid intense international competition, but the air and water were still polluted. Dokai Bay, highly contaminated by industrial and domestic wastewater, became known as the Sea of Death.
But the extreme environmental pollution in the city has diminished over time through considerable efforts.
Kitakyushu has become a clear example of development by shifting from heavy to environmental industries.