One good sample worth indicating is the integration of polluted water in a river and natural water resource in Nakhon Pathom Province.
A Tambon (sub-district) Administrative Organizations (TAO) is complained for its failure to supervise pig farming operators who discharged night soil into a natural water resource; as a result, water is rotten and could not be used for agriculture. In addition, other complaints were made through the “Helping People Program” of public television, requesting for an inspection and solving of a problem in the case where industrial plants discharged wastewater into the same natural water source.
Having considered documents and evidence, site inspection, and interview all relevant parties; Ombudsman found out that the problem was very severe. Several concerned agencies were requested to give explanations such as the Governor office of Nakhon Pathom Province, the Department of Livestock Development, the Department of Industrial Works, and the Pollution Control Department whereby these agencies replied that they had already acknowledged the problem and were on the process of solving the problem. The Pollution Control Department gave additional information that the problem of the discharging wastewater from communities into the canal was due to the breakdown and non-repair of water pumps and wastewater treatment systems. Thus the rotten water flew down from a large number of pig farms into the canal so the water in the canal was more polluted.
However, it was found out that the problem had not been solved and people suffered great trouble, particularly in the year when drought was very serious. There was not enough water to dilute polluted water. Lacking of fresh water effected agriculture, fishing, and tourism services. In addition, the government’s policy on a reduction groundwater usage caused severe shortage on raw water for domestic water supply.
Ombudsman submitted the matter to the Prime Minister and sent a report on investigation and strategic recommendations to the Governor of Nakhon Pathom province and concerned agencies so that they would proceed in an integrated manner to solve the problems, for example, pigsties should be cleaned with an EM (effective microorganism). Another solution was a prohibition of a usage of caustic soda to prevent water from being rotten and destroying beneficial microorganisms in the canal. An EM solution used in cleaning pigsties could be taken for a good use in growing pesticide-free vegetables and various types of agriculture since its nutrient could be good fertilizer. In addition, the use of pig excrements for generating gas and biological energy would reduce villagers’ expenses and energy consumption.
In this connection, the Nakhon Pathom Province, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry Tourism and Sports, the Provincial Administrative Organization, the Tambon Administrative Organization (TAO), the Municipality, etc, were required to jointly solve the problem, be serious in law enforcement, undertake regular inspections, and place emphasis on the civil society and local NGOs to undertake a surveillance role. After the Ombudsman had proposed the solving approach to the Prime Minister and concerned agencies, concrete results occurred as follows:
1. The Secretariat of the Prime Minister informed that the Prime Minister had acknowledged Ombudsman’s report on investigation and recommendations. The Ministry of Interior was assigned to be central agency to collect opinions and coordinate with concerned agencies such as Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC) to take remedial actions for the said case.
2. The Ministry of Interior informed all provincial governors to implement a suggested guideline. With regard to the province where the complaints were launched, Ministry of Interior had already notified authorities concerned to take steps and report directly to the Ombudsman.
3. The Department of Local Administration Promotion coordinated the Ombudsman, requesting for the Ombudsman to circulate report and suggestion to all provinces for acknowledgement and further action.
4. The Department of Industrial Works was assigned by the Ministry of Industry to monitor and supervise the wastewater from industrial plants discharged into water sources. Proactive measures and practical action plans were distributed and assigned every industrial works office to comply.
5. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Pollution Control Department reported that monitoring and water quality inspection had been undertaken regularly. In addition, problem solution from several types of water resources were proposed to the Cabinet such as domestic wastewater management plans, restoring and improving collection systems plans, and combined community discharged wastewater systems and discharged water from animal farms. The remedial actions should be applied to help damaged people and community.
Regarding the province where the complaints took place, the Governor acknowledged that the authorities in the province agreed with Ombudsman’s approach and recommendations. The urgent remedial actions were implemented immediately.
This case is considered the first systemic investigation report. There were several integrations; in terms of agencies, there were ministries, departments, relevant governmental agencies, NGOs, an civil society; in terms of area, there were several provinces applied Ombudsman’s suggestions; and in terms of waste water treatment techniques. Implementation of the recommendation was widely applied nation wide.