“Those who civilized are those who appreciate their river” ―Anonymous―
Joining PARE Summer School 2015 in Hokkaido University made me realized how important our rivers are. The rivers give us life, and we should protect them by any means. Learning from what have Japanese people especially Hokkaido citizens been doing to optimize and keeping their river named Ishikari, our interdisciplinary group made a master plan for repairing Chao Phraya river in Thailand.
With the length of 372 km, Chao Phraya river basin is the home to millions of Thai people, dominated by 5,111 inhabitants/km2 in Bangkok city where the downstream lies . The PARE chain then begins here, P for population shows that the number of the population in Bangkok are growing rapidly, reaching 10 million people in 2010 . The growing population makes A (for activity) increase, with the household activities (such as washing clothes in the river) are said to be the main activities of the people living in the riverbank. These activities make the R (for Resources) decrease a lot, as seen by the unwisely land use for housing and the ground water over exploitation. Thus, the E (for environment) are now suffering for the bad impacts, for instance the deterioration of the fresh water and groundwater .
Therefore, our master plan came up to solve one of the main problem in Chao Phraya’s downstream, which is domestic sewage pollution. Our first program is building a waste water treatment plant to purify the surface and groundwater from the pollution so their quality will meet the national or international environmental standard. As a biochemist, I would take part in researching and determining the best method of the water treatment since we might use bioremediation, chemical process to solidify heavy metals, or any other methods. On the other hand, our group predicted that the biggest challenge for this program is how to relocate the citizens that might be living in the designated area of the water treatment plant. That would be another aspect that should be put on the consideration before building the plant.
To develop the environmental friendly character of the citizens, we also have education program. Here, we would like to build a river museum and waste water treatment museum as the center of knowledge. Then, to gain people’s involvement in repairing and protecting the river, we will have “Friend of Chao Phraya Community” program. Our main target is young children, so we can raise them to be future environment scientists and engineers. The sample activities are field trip, small-scale project competition, water treatment simulation, clean river campaign, etc. In this education program, I can contribute to teach children on how the water treatment facilities work and support the small-scale project or research.
For further improvement of our master plan, many researches should be conducted. In my case as a biochemist, I propose the research title would be “Optimization of Bioremediation Process for the Water Treatment in Chao Phraya River”. The objective is to determine the best method and condition to optimize the bioremediation process of the water treatment so the treatment will be cost and time effective.
In conclusion, by using Ishikari water treatment as a model, we propose to construct waste water treatment plant along the downstream of Chao Phraya River as well as building and maintaining the character of the citizens by education program. Therefore, these small steps are expected to give contribution to repair the bad PARE chain that is now happening in Chao Phraya River.
- Royal Thai Embassy Tokyo Japan. 2009. Thailand’s Profile. Available at http://www.thaiembassy.jp/rte2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=75 (accessed in 12 September 2015)
- The World Bank. 26 January 2015. Urbanization in Thailand is dominated by the Bangkok urban area. Available at http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2015/01/26/urbanization-in-thailand-is-dominated-by-the-bangkok-urban-area (accessed in 12 September 2015)
- Thailand State of Pollution Report 2013. 2013. Bangkok: Pollution Control Department, Thailand Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
I would like to express my gratitude to all of the Professors in PARE Working Group and OIA Staffs of Hokkaido University, as well as to the speakers/lecturers and PARE Supporters for the warm hospitality and knowledge.
“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.” ― David Brower ―