Thailand - Environment

The Promotion and Enhancement of Environmental Quality Act of 1975 charges the National Environment Board with coordination of environmental protection programs in Thailand. The nation's water supply is at risk due to contamination by industry, farming activity, sewage, and salt water, especially in the Bangkok area. Thailand has 210 cu km of renewable water resources, with 91% used for farming activities and 4% for industrial purposes. Only 81% of the rural dwellers have pure drinking water.

Thailand's cities produce an average of 2.5 million tons of solid waste per year. Industry produces about 2 million tons of toxic pollutants annually. Watershed regions, undergoing rapid deforestation as a result of increased cultivation of upland areas, have been targeted for protection in the fourth and fifth national plans; overexploitation and pollution of freshwater and marine fisheries have yet to be remedied. By the 1980s, Thailand had lost about 25% of its original mangrove area. Land use in urban areas is regulated by the City Planning Act of 1975, the Control of Construction of Buildings Act of 1936, and the 1960 Act for Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country. Parts of Bangkok were reportedly sinking at a rate of 10 cm (4 in) a year because of depletion of the water table.

Urban air and noise pollution was also severe, largely as a result of increasing automobile traffic. In 1992 Thailand was among 50 nations with the world's highest levels of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 112.4 million metric tons, a per capita level of 2.02 metric tons. In 1996, the total rose to 205.3 million metric tons.

Wildlife is partially protected under the Wild Animals Preservation and Protection Act of 1960, but species have been depleted through illegal hunting and trapping. In 2001, 34 of the nation's mammal species and 45 bird species were endangered. About 355 types of plants were also endangered. Endangered species in Thailand include the pileated gibbon, tiger, Asian elephant, Malayan tapir, Sumatran rhinoceros, Fea's muntjac, Thailand brow-antlered deer, kouprey, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley, leatherback, river terrapin, estuarine crocodile, Siamese crocodile, false gavial, and the Javan rhinoceros. Schomburgk's deer and the redtail shark have become extinct.

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