Ministry working with multiple agencies to tackle oil slick: Varawut
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is closely monitoring the oil spill in Rayong and is working with related organisations to solve the current problem and restore the natural resources and environment to its normal state, Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said on Wednesday.
Varawut said the Pollution Control Department (PCD) has inspected the seawater quality in the area and oil slick threat to the beach. The department has also surveyed the area to check the movement of the oil slick and assessed the situation.
The incident occurred late on January 26 when an underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand owned by Star Petroleum Refining Public Company Limited (SPRC) starting leaking oil off the coast of Rayong.
Meanwhile, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is assessing the damage to marine natural resources and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is supporting the operations and monitoring the effect of the oil slick on the natural resources.
Varawut said that the PCD would also monitor and assess the air quality, water quality, soil and sediment with related organisations.
He said the department will do five things:
- Analyse components of organic and inorganic matter from crude oil and a lump of oil.
- Monitor and assess the seawater quality and oil slick at eight spots on the coast from Phayun Beach to Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park.
- Inspect and collect samples of seawater to analyse the amount of heavy metal (mercury, bronze, cadmium, lead, and iron) and total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) in six spots. The department has already done it three times and will test three more times to see if the quality of seawater is normal while the department is waiting for the result of the amount of heavy metal and TPH.
- Inspect the contamination of soil on the beach
- Inspect the air quality in the area with the oil slick
Varawut added that the three departments will cooperate with other organisations to create a recovery plan. The PCD has coordinated with the National Science and Technology Development Agency and private companies to help the environment recover in the tested area.
The department has reported Star Petroleum Refining Plc (SPRC) to the Map Ta Phut Police Station and is suing them for damages.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Jatuporn Buruspat, also ordered the setting up of a subcommittee to assess the effect on marine and coastal natural resources and the environment. The department will present it to the next meeting of the National Environment Board which is led by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.