Pattaya sewage problem in government crosshairs

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The government has chosen Pattaya as the place to start a new push to control water pollution in tourism destinations following this high-profile sewage spill in July.
The government has chosen Pattaya as the place to start a new push to control water pollution in tourism destinations following this high-profile sewage spill in July.

The government has chosen Pattaya as the place to start a new push to control water pollution in tourism destinations following a high-profile sewage spill in July.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Karnjanarat opened a seminar on sewage and garbage control at the Grand Palazzo Hotel Sept. 7. More than 500 Pattaya-area government, military and police officials attended.

Jatuporn Buruspat, director-general of the Department of Water Resources, told the gathering that the growth of Thailand’s tourism industry may have been good for the economy, but it had led to steady degradation of the marine environment in coastal resorts such as Pattaya.

The ministry wants to make a new effort to manage wastewater and garbage disposal to ensure raw sewage is no longer dumped directly into the sea.

The seminar comes after Pattaya Beach was fouled for a week by raw sewage that poured out of storm drain in July. City officials attributed the incident to broken pumps and Pattaya’s poorly maintained sewage-treatment plant, but the incident caught the attention of the Environment Ministry.

Thus, Surasak said, Pattaya will be the first to get the government’s focus on wastewater management in tourist cities, with the seminar being the first step.

The meeting allowed those attending to offer recommendations about how businesses and governments should comply with environmental laws and for the public to be educated on the issue.

The government also said it would step up enforcement of pollution laws against identified pollution sources and push Pattaya for more efficiency in its wastewater-treatment system.

According to the ministry, Pattaya has 1,047 identified sources of sewage and garbage pollution with that number expected to increase as the city grows.

As a result, Surasak said, it is very important to have cooperation from all sectors in managing manage and maintaining the environment.