Natural Resources Ministry examines economic models for restoration of Chonburi river basin

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The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry helped Chonburi administrators to understand how economic models can aid in their restoration of the Tha Cheen River Basin, one of four Thai projects receiving nearly $2 billion in international environmental funding.

Ministry Secretary Sakda Noppasith opened the June 18-20 seminar at the Tide Resort in Bangsaen attended by 35 officials and environmental-agency representatives.

Environment Office Region 5, located in Chonburi, and the province’s Pollution Control Department are working to develop plans to restore the Tha Cheen basin as part of a national forestry and catchment-management program underwritten by the United Nations Development Program.

Thailand is set to receive $1.75 billion for projects focused on the Tha Cheen River Basin in Nakhorn Pathom and Samutsakhorn; the Maesa River Basin in Chiang Mai, Lamsae Bai River Basin in Ubolratchaness, and Koh Phangan River Basin in Surat Thani.

Worapol Jan-ngam, director of the Environment Office Region 5, said pollution from Chonburi’s industrial foundation has created issues for proper management of an integrated water ecosystem.

Economic models can help project leaders better evaluate the value of natural resources and charge users accordingly, he said. Local officials are collaborating with the German International Cooperation agency to train staff to implement economic measures to maintain biodiversity and promote education and understanding.

Training focused on holistic assessment of economic value, practice on implementing economic tools and brainstorming the economic models in Tha Cheen River Basin. Speakers included Vichien Jungrungruang, director-general of the Pollution Control Department, Udomsak Silprawong and Piyathip Aiewpanit.