by Nick Upton
    birdwatching in thailand    
Main Menu

Visitors since 01/09/06

Add to Technorati Favorites

Donations towards the cost of running and developing are gratefully received.


Locations of visitors to this page

Site Map ; Contributors

Wetlands Polluted by Fly-tipping of Industrial Waste

Fly-tipping is one of those low-level environmentally destructive activites that can have a large cumulative effect. When fly-tipping is carried out close to waterbodies seepage or direct pollution can render the waterbody highly polluted in a short time and create a toxic wasteland.

Samut Prakarn province has the dubious distinction of being Thailand's most polluted province so it should come as no surprise to find large scale tipping of Industrial Waste leaving some pools at Muang Boran Fishponds devoid of wildlife on 7th June 2008. The pools in question were frequently used for tipping through 2000-2004 when a putrid smell used to emit from them. However, this year the problem seemed to have gone away and the water quality improved along with the disappearance of the smell: unfortunately the tipping has resumed and with it a plague of flies and poor air quality in the immediate vicinity of the waste - after about 10 minutes taking the photographs that appear here I had to leave the area as I could feel my chest tightening and was beginning to have trouble breathing properly due to the pollution.

Industrial waste is heaped in piles close to the water and actually floating in the water at this dump site causing direct and diffuse pollution. Much of this waste consists of highly toxic offcuts of bleached paper, sandpaper, paint samples and chemical bags. The photos below illustrate the problem.

Fly-tipping at Muang Boran Fishponds
(Photo by Nick Upton)

Chemical Bags
Hundreds of used chemical bags have been dumped in this location, bags which have contained a variety of toxic chemicals. Although these chemical bags seem to contain only waste such as bottles and paper, traces of the chemicals must remain and be entering the water - certainly there are no birds whatsoever using this polluted pool. Here are a few examples of the chemicals involved.

Toxic Pollution in Thailand
This level of toxicity of pollution is sadly not uncommon in Thailand. On my first visit to Bang Poo in 1996 the sea was coloured yellow, orange, purple and red from seepage from nearby paint and chemical factories - things are slightly better these days.

A famous case is that of Klitty Creek in Western Thailand where lead poisoning has been tolerated in watecourses by the authorites for many years despite the deaths of numerous villagers. Recently a settlement has been reached on this case which was reduced on appeal by the offending parties. Cleanup plans consist of allowing the pollution to be absorbed by the environment.

This is all too common an approach and the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong has been recognised as the most dangerous place in Thailand to work because of the high levels of pollution, pollution which the authorities leave the environment to absorb. Apparently the air in the region has become so noxious as to cause health problems for the locals.

The worry of pollution leading to the decline of fish stocks and other coastal resources has lead recently to protests against a steel smelting plant to be built in Prachuab Kiri Khan. Local fishermen and villagers do not want to have to live alongside the inevitable pollution this plant would create and unfortuantely the leader of the protestors has apparently received death threats!

Compiled by Nick Upton on 13/06/08.
About the Adverts
Related Pages: Abuse of Wildlife for Tourists , Birds for sale at Chatuchak, Massive Increase in Bird Trapping at Chiang Saen , Large numbers of Dead Birds at Muang Boran Fishponds , Birds Dying and Dead at Muang Boran Fishponds newsletter -
Sign up for free monthly Thailand birdwatching news and updates: newsletter.
Support by using the above websites.
Check out the Top 50 Birding sites!
A Guide to Birdwatching in Thailand. Copyright © 2004-2008 All rights reserved.
Birding Top 500 Counter