24 August 2010

Thailand's Health Impact Assessment Requirements Reduced, Narrowed

The Nation is reporting that the number of industries that are required to do HIA's under Thailand's far-reaching HIA regulations has been severely circumscribed. Whilst clarify the regulations this move represents a significant backwards step, with many large-scale, potentially harmful projects no longer subjected to any review of the potential health impacts of their projects.

For example a gas processing plant planned by the state-owned PTT company for the Mab Ta Phut Industrial Area in Thailand will no longer require an HIA, despite plans for it to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of liquified petroleum gas per month. Many other projects with significant health risks are also no longer required to conduct HIAs (see below).

Update to this story here

The major projects in the following industries that are still required to conduct stand-alone HIAs:
  1. Offshore or coastal landfill of areas larger than 300 rai
  2. All types and sizes of mine operations
  3. Industrial estate and annexed or extended areas
  4. Headstream or middlestream petrochemical productions, of all sizes, or extended size of at least 35 per cent of output
  5. Steel or ore mills, with minimum daily output of 5,000 tonnes
  6. Production, modification or disposal of radioactive material in operations of hospital, veterinarian clinics, or research
  7. Disposal facilities or crematoriums of waste harmful to human health
  8. Airports with runways of 3,000 metres' minimum length
  9. Piers and ports, except small-scale used by locals
  10. Dams or reservoirs with minimum capacity of 100-million cubic metres and water surfaces of 15 kms
  11. Power plants, except those fuelled by natural gas or combined cycle power plants that increase output to 3,000 megawatts

Projects in these industries are no longer required to conduct HIAs:
  1. Irrigation projects
  2. Natural saline suction projects
Projects in these industries don't have to do HIAs but are required to conduct EIAs:
  1. Cremation of biologically-infected waste
  2. Water transfer operations over major rivers and international operations
  3. Watergate operations
Projects in these industries are suggested to consider conducting an EIA:
  1. General operations located near World Heritage or historical sites, wildlife reserves
  2. Construction or renovation of permanent installations outside seawalls or anti-erosion dykes, in areas reserved for environmental protection or tourism
Photos of Mab Ta Phut, the industrial estate in question: