THAILAND: Arsenic-tainted water and soil targeted for clean-up
Thai villagers suffering from arsenic contamination should receive new protection once a two-stage programme is approved by the National Environment Board.
The contamination from tin mining in the Ronphiboon district of the province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat is of grave concern to the Pollution Control Department (PCD). The body has set out a short and long-term strategy to tackle the problem.
In the short-term, an expansion of the tap water system will provide villagers with an alternative to arsenic-contaminated natural water sources. In the long-term, soil decontamination, water quality monitoring and disease control will be employed.
The director general of the PCD confirmed to the Bangkok Post that arsenic levels in the area have been measured at up to 20 times the World Health Organisation’s acceptable standard of 0.05 parts per million (ppm) per litre. The tap water to be provided to villagers will conform to PCD’s new standard of 0.01ppm.
A skin cancer epidemic has been documented in the area, the result of tainted water.