EARTH Thailand

Locals secure victory over plastics firm

Bangkok Post 25 December 2020

Company to restore damaged areas

Residents of a village in tambon Nam Phu of Ratchaburi's Muang district have won a court battle with a plastic recycling company that was found to have polluted the local environment which negatively impacted their health.

The Civil Court's environmental cases division yesterday found Wax Garbage Recycle Centre Co along with its board of directors guilty of causing chemical contamination to the soil and water of Moo 1 village, as claimed by three plaintiffs who represented other villagers in the affected village in this class-action lawsuit.

The court ordered the two defendants to pay Thanu Ngamyingyuat 666,425 baht and two other unnamed plaintiffs 508,500 baht and 135,000 baht respectively in financial compensation for the damage caused to their health by the company's operations.

This compensation was ordered to be paid with 7.5% interest per year, which will be calculated from the day of the ruling until the two defendants completely pay the entire amount.

As well as the three villagers, about a thousand others from the same village will also receive compensation under the same ruling.

Those villagers who were sick as a result of the chemical contamination but didn't get a test to detect heavy metals in their blood as proof, or whose test results showed no signs of these substances, are each entitled to receive 5,000 baht per year from 2016 to 2022 in medical care costs.

Those whose blood tests showing heavy metals are each entitled to receive 10,000 baht per year for the same period, while the villagers whose blood tests showed heavy metals at extremely high levels are each entitled to receive 15,000 baht per year for the same period.

The court also ordered the two defendants to provide compensation for other possible health impacts as a result of the contamination of villagers, found and certified by doctors.

For people who are 15 years old and older, they are each entitled to receive 30,000 baht for this purpose, while younger villagers are each entitled to 100,000 baht.

The court also ordered the defendants to pay farmers in the village compensation for damage that may have been caused to their farms, ranging from 1,690 baht per rai to 19,945 baht per rai, for a maximum of 30 rai per person.

The two were also ordered to rehabilitate the polluted land and water until the area returns to its previous state, or else the plaintiffs may hire someone else to carry out the work at the defendants' expense.