Top lawyer condemns delays in Klity Creek clean-up

Top lawyer condemns delays in Klity Creek clean-up

A top human rights lawyer has criticised the Pollution Control Department (PCD) for lengthy delays in the clean-up of Kanchanaburi’s lead-contaminated Klity Creek.

Speaking after a meeting with the PCD, Lawyers Council of Thailand representative Surapong Kongchantuk said the department must speed up restoration of the creek.

The PCD called a meeting of its Klity Creek working committee on Friday, the first since the Supreme Administration Court ordered the department in January last year to restore the creek.

The order stemmed from a case first filed in 2004 by 22 residents of Klity village in Kanchanaburi’s Thong Pha Phum district who were affected by lead contamination caused by mining operations upstream.

PCD director-general Araya Nuntapotidech, who chaired the meeting, said the department is still considering holding a public hearing with villagers to work on a plan that would include them in the clean-up. The department will meet local authorities in Kanchanaburi on Aug 29 to discuss the restoration plan, she said.

But Mr Surapong said the villagers had already agreed last month that the department should clean up the creek, the area around a now-defunct mineral processing factory, and destroy chemical waste in accordance with industrial standards.

The PCD began the first phase of the creek’s three-year restoration plan last November. It hired experts from Khon Kaen University to conduct a six-month pollution survey into the creek, to inform the clean-up methods used in the second phase.

However, the university reported on Friday that the survey is still incomplete despite being scheduled to finish in March. Efforts to restore the creek were due to start in May.

A PCD survey last year found toxic levels of lead in and around the site of the now-defunct factory north of Klity Creek. More than 40,001 milligrammes of lead per kilogramme of soil (mg/kg) was found in several areas. The maximum safe limit is 400 mg/kg.

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