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Pollution In Floodwaters Raising Health Concerns: Thailand


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Pollution in floodwaters raising health concerns

The Nation

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The flood problem has lowered the water quality in four rivers, the Water Pollution Control Department's Water Quality Management Office director Anupan Itharat said yesterday, raising fears for the health of thousands living near the waterways.

Samples taken from the rivers had shown high pollution levels: the Yom in Phichit's Pho Thalae and Sam Ngam districts had 3-4 milligrams per litre of dissolved oxygen (DO) [an important pointer to the health of an ecosystem], while the Chao Phraya River from Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Angthong to Bangkok had 1-2mg per litre. Tha Chin River from Suphan Buri's Song Phi Nong district to Nakhon Phathom had 0.2-2mg, and the Bang Pakong River 1.6mg.

Raising concern over the polluted floodwater's impact on health, Deputy Minister of Public Health Torphong Chaiyasarn yesterday urged the Department of Health and local officials to continue surveys and warn people not to wade through polluted floodwater.

Torphong said mobile medical teams had made 173 visits and found 17,000 patients, most of whom suffered from Hong Kong foot rash, and distributed 73,764 medicine sets. They had put 119 victims under surveillance due to their immense stress and suicide risk.

Visiting flood-hit Lop Buri, where six districts remained submerged, Torphong was told that Meuang, Tha Wung and Ban Mee districts remained critical and 200 temporary shelters were set up to support 10,000 evacuees.

Lop Buri produces100 tonnes of garbage per day and some 100,000 tonnes of garbage in its 50-rai landfill were nearly flooded, threatening to further pollute floodwater, Torphong said. Officials were trying to keep garbage in the landfill, putting EM (effective micro-organism) balls into floodwater to alleviate pollution, and distributing garbage bags to residents. However several areas were already polluted, with Tesabal 1 School and Wat Tong Pu showing a critical level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in floodwater of 1.7-1.9mg per litre.

Torphong said the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand would airlift medical supplies to hard-to-access areas and add birth control pills, condoms and tampons requested by flood-hit residents. Currently 34 tambon-level health promotion stations were flooded. Sixteen were totally closed and had moved staff to service people at shelters instead, he added.

Natural Resource and Environment Ministry permanent secretary Chote Trachu said the authority was getting 100,000 EM balls from the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration and another 30,000 balls from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to put in the floodwater. The first spot would be in Lop Buri, Chote said.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-04

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Torphong said the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand would airlift medical supplies to hard-to-access areas and add birth control pills, condoms and tampons requested by flood-hit residents.

Apparently, flooding does not interfere with the sexual passions of some. :o

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