Thai Health, Human Rights Commission, commemorate Ming Dih disaster – a painful lesson towards environmental rights
EARTH REPORT 05 July 2022
Thai Health Promotion Foundation and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand held a commemorative seminar on the one-year anniversary of the Ming Dih factory fire in Samut Prakan.
Speakers at the seminar included representatives from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH), as well as experts in the field of environment, health, and urban planning.
NHRC representatives spoke on community rights, including the right-to-know. According to them, the Ming Dih disaster was a violation of these rights, as the plastic factory was stationed in the middle of a community who had no idea what chemicals were stored.
PCD representatives stated that between 2017-2022, up to 203 chemical disasters had happened in Thailand. Most of these factories operated on plastic, and involved processes that requires toxic and flammable chemicals.
According to Penchom Saetang, Director of EARTH, following the disaster, EARTH conducted research into the distribution and density of factories related to plastic production. The result reveals that there are up to 969 factories that fit this Ming Dih model in Bangkok and 5 bordering provinces alone.
Penchom conclude by reiterating the necessity of a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) law. This law would guarantee that citizens can easily and quickly access information on what pollutants are being released and transferred by factories in Thailand. This would allow locals to evaluate the risks of chemical disasters in their area, which will aid in their decision-making and every-day preparation. Likewise, government agencies would be able to access information crucial to environmental protection. The industrial sector would be able to self-monitor and implement better practices in disaster prevention.