Groups kick off pollutant database bid

Groups kick off pollutant database bid

10,000 signatures sought to back law

A civil society network yesterday kicked off a campaign calling for the enactment of a law to create a database management system to help monitor the release and transfer of chemicals or pollutants in the kingdom.

The network calls the database an important tool to promote public participation in environmental policy decision-making processes.

Led by the ENLAWTHAI Foundation, Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand and Greenpeace Thailand, the groups yesterday submitted a letter to the House of Representatives saying they plan to propose a law on a "Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers" (PRTR) system and gather 10,000 signatures to back it.

The move came after the network unveiled a draft law on the matter on Sunday during a seminar at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre to raise public awareness about the country's need to have the PRTR system.

During the seminar, they said the PRTR system is intended to serve as a database of chemicals or pollutants released into the environment and those transferred for treatment.

According to the network, more than 50 countries have a PRTR system to effectively formulate environmental policies, determine emergency responses, monitor industrial sector compliance and enhance safety.

In Thailand, the public database would also help communities and rescue personnel better protect themselves during an environment emergency, it said.

Under the draft law, industrial sector operators are required to disclose information on the release of chemicals, which in turn will allow communities to identify sources of waste and assess impacts on their health and environment.

Surachai Ngamtrong, secretary-general of the ENLAWTHAI Foundation, said the proposed law is an exercise of the people's right to protect their health.

Penchome Sae-Tang, director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand, said pollution from industrial operators has wreaked havoc on public health and the environment.

She said it is high time for the public to act to improve pollution control measures.

Alliya Moun-ob, Energy Transition Coordinator at Greenpeace Thailand, said the PRTR law, once in place, will help reduce the use of toxic chemicals at industrial site.

It will also help enable members of local communities to prepare for environmental incidents before they take place, she said.



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