Friday, 21 October 2016

Toxic Thailand or Clean-up Nation? And maybe Cleanup Kent one day?

The details of Klity Creek in Kanchanaburi by Khun Ploenpote Atthakor in The Bangkok Post article this week “The Environment loses” are horrifying.

Not just the pollution itself and impact on the environment and people but the delays and cover-up instead of cleanup.

For the sediment still to be contaminated even after the payouts to the Klity Creek villagers is mortifying.

As with the stingray fish deaths in the Mae Klong river – now confirmed as ethanol pollution - and the aptly named Pong river pollution in Khon Kaen cited by Khun Ploenpote it’s a contamination price that can be paid in blood through the generations with illness and genetic deformities for the years ahead.

I remember the sterling work some years ago by a Thai human rights lawyer in taking up the Klity Creek case - unfortunately a rare instance in UK with the legal system mired in the fraud and corruption of the BHS scandal of billionaire Philip Green and his assistant Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court.

Here in Kent we’ve had similar toxic incidents with the jaw-dropping contamination by Infratil plc of New Zealand, with the directors and, even worse, the TDC and KCC councils removing the required pollution monitors and faking the data for almost a decade from 2005 onwards.

In a bizarre twist, the airport was closed in 2014 after a hasty $1 selloff six months earlier to Ann Gloag the owner of Stagecoach buses in UK and NZ, and one of Scotland’s richest women.

But still no monitoring or fines under Gloag before she closed the airport.

Even more peculiarly, a parliamentary investigation into Gloag’s murky ownership of the site and plans for a mega-housing estate and New Town proved less than clear.

Infratil’s directors also hastily sold off their other airports in Scotland and Germany and NZ, leaving only Wellington Airport, surely now Asia’s most dangerous airport run by directors Fitzgerald, Clarke and Bogoievski and Baker:

While UK or Thai pensioners might want to question any retirement plans to Australia and Infratil’s other businesses given their rather murderous approach to pollution and monitoring:

In my politics role, I’ve made it a manifesto point to extradite the Infratil directors back to UK to stand trial: orange jumpsuit, leg-irons and free trip back handcuffed to an FBI agent if UK police prove ineffective.

While UKIP and Nigel Farage before their defeat in the South Thanet election and numerous resignations made it their flagship – indeed only – policy to reopen Manston, as did Craig Mackinlay and Roger Gale the Tory MP’s both facing calls for resignations and now enmeshed in a rape scandal with one of their aides.

Manston and Infratil is a toxic mix of idiocy, coverup, pandering to the crowd and parachute politics that ended just last week with a report citing such a policy as foolish in the extreme.

But still no public debate or comment on the cancer effect – and this really is hard to believe – the airport built on the East Kent drinking water aquifer.
I know, you couldn’t make it up.

As with numerous banned flights from the EU visiting both Manston and Ostend airport – Thai readers may remember Viktor Bout – the basis of the movie Lord of War -being extradited from Bangkok:

Bout’s rat-run of guns and drugs and diamonds via Ostend airport is all the more horrifying with toxic discharge of cluster bombs rearing their ugly head again in Yemen and Syria after the bloody harvests of Cambodia and Laos.

If Wellington is Asia’s most dangerous airport then Ostend, with Manston and Lydd, is the European equivalent – even IranAir sanction busting on the former director Charles Buchanan’s watch.

Klity Creek and Mae Klong must surely form the basis of Climate Change and anti-pollution policies for Thailand 4.0?

If UK is failing on pollution, then Flint, Michigan is a faint glimmer of hope with city officials arrested and jailed.

Or Minamata in Japan and its toxic legacy of mercury poisoning:

The latter a mercury incident as we unfortunately also have in Kent with Thor mercury – a factory banned for polluting its workers yet remaining open. For 30 years. A damning indictment of the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Agency with the factory only being closed after catching fire and sending a toxic plume of smoke into the air.

As Khun Ploenpote points out it's too easy for government officials to pretend nothing happened, and do nothing and keep picking up a paycheck and pension.

The Thor mercury site in Cato Ridge in South Africa is facing similar problems of workers and residents poisoned and rivers polluted.

With Thailand in mourning for King Bhumibol and his sterling work on the environment as well as sports and jazz, surely a fitting legacy to his memory would be to develop a CleanUp Committee for pollution sites in Thailand and UK? Recording the pollution is of little use without cleanup.

And with Princess Sirindhorn active in her now role as UN Ambassador for FAO surely such royal oversight would protect Thailand’s – and UK’s – farmland from such pollution scandals?

Time for Change

Misc points:

* July Updates:

* Working on a misc issues: Magellan Anniversary - Spain and LatAm, Almeria Universities links and Kent-Thai orchids

* Also Solomon Islands cruise ships

* Benelux strategy: Panasonic and Phillips - DNA bathroom mirror

* One Essex Court and Inns fraud: Grabiner, Glick, Hollingworth, Leavor etc

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