Sustainable Development – Thailand
This paper focuses on water pollution issue and development, this environmental issue is critical in the region and has been the highest based on priority in the environmental initiatives of the government. This is attributed to the recent advances in sectors such as housing, manufacturing service industries among others in Thailand (Ministry of environment 13). However, the most severe is the pollution of rivers from majorly household and industrial wastes in the most populated Bangkok area.
The government in response has set up standards on the acceptable quality of water from rivers Chao Phraya, Thachin, Mae Glong, and Bang Prakong, where water pollution issue is being monitored and controlled. The government has also not ignored heavy metals that find their way to the rivers thereby contaminating drinking water; the concentrations are also believed to be responsible for creating threats to the biodiversity and ecosystem. Likewise, organic pollutants also find their way to Chao Phraya River, untreated household waste comprise this pollution in addition to industrial pollutants of sugar, pulp, paper, rubber, leather from industries mostly owned by Thai enterprises.
The prime focus has been improving the quality of water, however scarce data is available on the capability of contamination caused by industrial wastewater (Kaasa 111). Similarly, information is scarce on the contamination caused by heavy metals and equipment however; efforts have been put in place to prevent pollution of urban rivers in Thailand. For instance, regulations have been put in place to ensure that large buildings have water purification tanks and treated sewages. In addition, the government has initiated measures to reduce pollution and has mandated Wastewater Management Authority that has assisted in building efficient and economical wastewater treatment facilities and administers them.
Economists have opined that healthy population is vital for economic development; water pollution is known to cause suffering and diseases that slows the rate of economic development (Ministry of environment 24). In addition, the toll on human suffering and diseases arising from drinking or using contaminated water inflicts a significant financial burden in the form of healthcare and wellness expenditure. Experts have affirmed that economic development leads to improvement in the living standards of members of the society however; it improves lifestyle at the expense of the environment and biodiversity (Ministry of environment 26). Industrialization in Thailand has provided employment opportunities to the people to help in uplifting their living standards, change the eating habits, and shift patterns of transport that in totality have diverse effects on the environment. Wastes from industries and households are released on water bodies thereby contaminating and in the process causing serious health problems to the people of Thailand and other countries like China (Schroeder 6).
To ensure sustainable development in Thailand then there is need to integrate environmental protection into sustainable development (Zafarullah and Ahmed 12). This could be through the government improving the quality of life for the community members so as to alleviate burden of diseases and illnesses through provision of clean water and sanitation. There is also need to address environmental issues that will provide health benefits while recognizing practices and procedures that promotes sustainability of the environment and economic development. Economists have asserted that healthy individuals tend to contribute positively to economic development as they are more productive and efficient in economic growth activities (Ministry of environment 22).
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