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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: THAI flight skids off Bangkok runway; Oil spill update; Dam tiger fight; Loei says no to gold mine

Legacy Phuket Gazette



– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

THAI flight slides off Bangkok runway Sunday night, 13 injured
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: THAI International Airways is investigating an accident in which flight TG 679 skidded off the runway while landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday night.

Sorajak Kasemsuvan, THAI president, said thirteen passengers suffered minor injuries from the accident that took place at 11.20pm.

The Airbus A330-300 left Guangzhou at 9.25pm local time with 288 passengers and 14 crew members on board.

During the incident, there were some sparks at the base of the right wheel, making it catch fire. Sorajak said the captain of the flight then managed to control the airplane and ordered evacuation of the passengers through emergency exits.

The Airbus A330-300 involved in the incident was delivered to Thai Airways in March of 1995.

Dam would flood tiger habitat: activists
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A group of prominent environmental activists will kick off a protest today against the Nakhon Sawan Mae Wong Dam project, calling on the government to scrap the plan.

They said the dam project would inundate more than 13,000 rai of forest areas in Mae Wong National Park, affecting the balance of wildlife, including tigers.

A group led by Seub Nakhasathien Foundation’s secretary-general Sasin Chalermlarp will hand the petition to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP)’s panel of environmental experts.

It will request they stop conducting an environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA) report on the proposed dam.

The Mae Wong Dam project was initiated by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) 30 years ago and is now part of the government’s Bt350-billion water-management and flood-prevention scheme.

The dam is aimed at resolving flood and drought problems in areas, which deliver water to 291,900 rai of irrigated areas in Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet and Uthai Thani.

RID submitted the EHIA report for ONEP’s deliberation several times without success, as it did not include information about proper measures to mitigate the impact of the project on the flora and fauna in the area.

In a bid to protest over the dam plan, Sasin and other environmental activists will start walking from Bangkok to the dam construction site located in Nakhon Sawan province’s Mae Wong National Park. They will also tear up the EHIA report, page by page, during their protest trip. Sasin said he protested about the dam project because it would affect thousands of rai in the country’s western forest complex, such as Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, a world natural heritage site, and the Kamphaeng Phet’s Klong Lan National Park.

According to the study by three environmental agencies – the National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the WorldWide Fund – these areas are important habitat for wild tigers.

He also found the dam would not protect the local area and Chao Phraya river basin from flooding as it could retain only 258 million cubic metres of water.

Sasin said there were irregularities in the EHIA deliberative process. The government had changed membership of the environmental expert panel who studied the project’s EHIA report several times to speed up the approval process.

ONEP secretary-general Santi Boonprakub said his agency would submit the EHIA report for consideration by the National Environmental Board and Independent Commission on Environment and Health to seek additional recommendations on the project before getting the final Cabinet approval.

Loei villagers oppose gold mine plan
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: More than 800 villagers in Loei yesterday protested against a gold mine project as they fear it would hurt the environment and people’s health.

The protest took place after Thung Kham Ltd Co held a public hearing over the gold-mining, which would cover more than 12,000 rai in tambon Na Pong of Muang district, in order to seek the state approval for a mining concession there.

Tambon Na Pong Municipality deputy mayor Boonhome Ramsiri said the villagers were worried about the impact on water, underground water, soil, and air quality as well as on farm produce and people’s health.

The villagers claimed there was a report on contamination of hazardous chemical such as cyanide from a nearby gold mine in tambon Wang Sa Phung, affecting at least six villages living near the mine.

However, the company representatives informed the locals at the public hearing that although the firm had surveyed for a gold-mining site covering 12,000 rai, they currently had asked the state agency to grant a concession for only 600 rai. As the company was required to host at least 10 public hearings about the project in the future, the representatives claimed if it was found the project would cause severe impacts and most villagers do not want this project, the company would abandon its plan.

Rayong oil spill dangers remain despite clean-up, say US experts
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Despite the clean-up efforts of PTT Global Chemical in the early stages of the recent oil spill at Rayong province’s Koh Samet, the re-emergence and long-term impact of submerged oil should be inspected, according to US experts.

“It’s believed by the oil company that the oil dispersant can improve the overall oil-spill conditions, but there are many unknown long-term impacts of the use of the dispersant on marine life and public health,” said David Krause, an expert with US-based Geosyntec Consultants.

Krause was with the teams that responded to the 2010 Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He said oil companies worldwide had used the same dispersant to contain spills as they believed it could make the oil disappear from the sea’s surface as rapidly as possible.

But in fact, the spilled oil was merely submerged by the dispersants and could cause long-term environmental impacts on marine life.

“The impact of the oil spill will go on for quite some time and may involve more clean-up events, diminished health of marine life, and increased stress on the food chain,” he said.

Krause was speaking to the media during the three-day 34th International Environment Forum “Pacem in Maribus”, held in Bangkok, on the topic “Hazards to the World’s Oceans”.

Contamination from oil spills under the sea can be harmful to seafood and those who consume it.

It can take several seasons for contaminants to break down and pose no further risk, Krause explained.

On concerns about whether it is safe to consume seafood from the area in the long term, Krause said well-established methods to measure any oil-related contaminants in fish from local waters were needed.

To date there are many studies under way to find out the impact of submerged oil on coral reefs and sea creatures such as crab, shrimp and oysters.

“The submerged oil sometimes will not kill marine life but it could weaken it,” he said.— Phuket Gazette Editors


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