Pattaya Daily News

17 January 2010 :: 01:01:31 am 7728

PM in Map Ta Phut: Industrial development should not affect residents’ health

RAYONG, Jan 16 (TNA) - Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday inspected the country's largest industrial estate, Map Ta Phut in the eastern seaboard province of Rayong, pledging that industrial development must go hand-in-hand with concern for local residents’ health.
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The premier commented as he presided at the opening ceremony of the Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine Centre at Rayong amid tight security as anti-government protesters from the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protested against him nearby the newly-opened centre.

The Administrative Court earlier ordered 76 Map Ta Phut projects to temporarily halt operating amid continued concerns that critical environmental and health impacts had not been properly addressed after the Stop Global Warming Association and 43 local residents filed a complaint with the court seeking an emergency hearing and an injunction to put on hold all projects in the industrial zone.

The Court later allowed 11 of the 76 projects to continue operating, with 65 remaining shuttered, while the Abhisit government set up a four-party panel to resolve the Map Ta Phut problems, chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun.

Mr Abhisit said in his speech that the urgent task of the government is to monitor the health of people living in the Map Ta Phut area, saying that the development of industry and environment should be simultaneously carried out.

“When the Administrative Court ordered the suspension of the Map Ta Phut industrial projects,” Mr Abhisit said, “the government solved the problem by issuing regulations to oversee those projects and establishing a centre to monitor the health impact on local residents.”

The premier asserted that his government is proactive in solving the problem, reiterating that the development of industry must proceed continuously along with the care of the health of the public.

Mr Abhisit expressed confidence that the government will successfully bring about a good understanding among the business and investment community so that they can run industrial projects within the controlled area and that economic well-being should be in harmony with the environment.

The Centre of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine will monitor the health impacts on some 13,000 Map Ta Phut residents who may become ill during their work or detect diseases caused by pollution and chemical leaks in the industrial estate.

It was reported that after the centre opening ceremony the premier visited and talked with local residents, while the health ministry dispatched a medical mobile unit to provide health checks for them.

The premier commented on the planned meeting with representatives of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) scheduled for Tuesday saying that he is willing to discuss with them on how the situation will be solved and how to move forward.

“Now the solution to the problem is clearer. I believe that the investors will understand that we have not issued the law to restrict their investment,” said Mr Abhisit, “but that Thailand should have better environmental standards. Many countries are doing similar things.” (TNA)

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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