June 5 is Environment Day World (WED). Its aims to foster positive environmental action globally.  As an ongoing campaign since 1972 UN aim is to stimulate worldwide awareness of environment and encourages political attention and action.

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An event in Thailand points out the need for serious action. A sugar barge sank in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district of Ayutthaya on Tuesday, releasing  about 2,300 tonnes of sugar into the river.(Nation)

The sugar has been dissolving and polluting the water. Water quality in the Chao Phraya River section affected by massive amounts of sugar discharged from a sunken barge is expected to return to normal in three days, the Pollution Control Department says. However, PCD officials predicted that the water quality would return to normal by Sunday due to the large amount of water in the river and rainfall.

As a legal action, a law suite is file against the owner (TAN,for kids). The community should be aware and the government should set up authorities to sort out this problem as they do in other countries. PCD’s attitude seems to be that “no big deal, in two days it’ll be to normal”, that’s not good enough, in other countries for example, the EPA take this seriously and take action to prevent the event from happen in the first place. Also, compensation value should be consistent with the ability of the operator to take, the damage caused both direct and indirect. We’ve seen several cases in Thailand that the compensation value was way “under-estimated” for indirect impacts.

Co-Author – Gordon Wood