Thailand Air Pollution Center of Excellence: Introduction
The social and economic development of Thailand has contributed to air pollution problem in which it has influence on health problem of Thai people who lived not just in Bangkok area but also those who lived in rural areas as well. The regions involved with the air pollution problems e.g. Maemoh Power Plant, Lumpang Province, Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong Province, Laem Chabang Industrial Estate, Chonburi Province, Stone-crushing mills in Amphur Na-Pralan, Saraburi Province, and the downtown of various cities.
Thailand will need a lot of experts in this air pollution field to be able to solve this problem in the most effective way. However, since Thailand has a very limited expert specialists, this is then still an ongoing problem that still needs to be worked out. Another problem is that these authorities usually stand by at central government centre. Even though there are air pollution professionals in Thailand, their information rather came from their understanding and familiarity because there are still not any specific subjects related to this issue offered in Thailand and that is the most rationale answer to why they cannot solve the problem successfully.
With the intention of efficiently solving the air pollution problems in all areas nationwide in accordance with the Constitution of the Royal Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997) and the Act on Decentralisation Procedures for Local Administration Organisations B.E. 2542 (1999), which both emphasise on decentralising the State powers and authorities toward the local communities for their independence and self-decisiveness, Pollution Control Department (PCD) has therefore established Thailand Air Pollution Centre of Excellence (TAPCE) on 14 January 2002.
The purpose of TAPCE:
- To educate and improve the human resources in air pollution, create a technical network of air pollution control and prevention
- To support the research and development on air pollution control technology and improve the human resources of the local and regional administration, competence and expertise in air pollution management. Thus these people can operate and solve the air pollution problems in their own local communities.
- Responsible for training the trainers from the member universities participating in the training network of air pollution management. The goal of this training is to enable the member universities to further spread the knowledge in the training course towards the other local human resources in charge of air pollution management, regionally and locally, in private and public sector, especially, the human resources in the local and regional administration organisations within the jurisdiction of the member universities.
By this way, it is expected that this technical training can be introduced extensively into the local communities nationwide.
The training syllabus that TAPCE selects for the member universities comprises 37 courses of the Air Pollution Training Institute (APTI) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and 66 courses of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). On 28 October 1999, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Thailand and the USEPA signed a memorandum of agreement on technical cooperation in environmental protection. Consequently, PCD expects to spread the knowledge on air pollution in the training courses of the Air Pollution Training Institute. For that purpose, TAPCE and the member universities will jointly prepare the air pollution management training course in the Thai language and will also review, improve and update various standard training courses in order to transfer the knowledge to the human resources in charge of air pollution management in various local communities.