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Mangrove Field Trip in Bang Khun Thian and Bang Pakong Municipal, Thailand

MANGROVEMAGZ. In the context of increasing knowledge and understanding of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), all of participants visiting to Bang Khun Thian and Bang Pa Kong to see field condition particularly in coastal area, problem issue and the management of area.

Field trip activity at 22 September 2011 and followed by 29 participants comes from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sheycelles, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Profile of Bang Khun Thian
Bang Khun Thian is the name of district in Bangkok province which the area is located a long side of the coast. The coastline has 4.7 kilometers long. Ta Kam sub-district is the area located on next to the shore.

The total population this area are 38,699 people. A BMA study (2006) found that two village communities in Ta Kam sub-district have been directly affected by coastal erosion, that was villages number 9 and 10.

Bang Khun Thien coast has been suffer from severe erosion for the last 20-30 years. The stability number of The Bang Khun Thien coast reveals that the coast is continually eroded with recession rate of 1.2-4.6 m/year.

It is the only place in Bangkok and connects to the Upper Gulf of Thailand, a slope of 1:400-1:650 and the shore elevation is varied between -9.00 to 0.00 m.MSL. Previously, the Bang Khun Thien coast was covered with mangroves.

Then, the mangroves were destroyed and have been replaced by shrimp farms. This corresponding change affected significantly its environment. In 1987, there was severe erosion along the shoreline. The recession of the coastline is estimated as 1,000 m at 2006. Around 450 hectare coastal line area has lost.

The participants comes from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sheycelles, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Profile of Bang Pakong
Bang Pakong is a district (Amphoe) in the western part of Chachoengsao Province, Central Thailand. The area has many industrial estates, including the huge gas and oil fired Bang Pakong Power Station.

Neighboring district are Ban Pho of Chachoengsao Province, Phan Thong, Mueang Chon Buri of Chon Buri Province, the Bay of Bangkok and Samut Prakan Province.

The important water resource is the Bang Pakong River, which mouths into the Bay of Bangkok within the district. Bang Na-Trat highway runs through the district. The district is subdivided into 12 sub districts (tambon), which are further subdivided into 108 villages (muban).

There are 5 sub district municipalities (thesaban tambon) – Bang Pakong, Tha Sa-an, Tha Kham and Hom Sim each covers parts of the same-named tambon, while Bang Wua covers parts of tambon Bang Wua, Bang Samak and Bang Kluea. There are further 12 tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

Objective of the Field Trip
1. To understand the coastal management issues in Bang Khun Thian and Bang Pakong, how these issues are addressed.
2. To provide recommendations on how the issues should be addressed based on ICM principles.

Based on Dr. Gallardo lecture in AIT (2011) there are 7 principles in ICM activity: (1) principle of interrelationship and integration, (2) inter-and intra-generational equity principles, (3) principle of the right to develop, (4) environmental safeguards principle, (5) precautionary principle, (6) “polluter pays” principle, and (7) transparency principle and other process-oriented principles.

Bang Khun Thian
Based on discussion in the Klongpittayalongkorn school with the authority of Bang Khun Tian coastal area, there were found crucial issues and how these issues are addressed:

1. Coastal Erosion
This phenomena has already happened since 20 years ago and cause around 450 hectare coastal lands disappear on the 5 km coastal line. Coastal erosion causes the people in coastal area or businessman cutting mangroves and changes of the land become shrimp ponds, milkfish ponds and salt ponds.

The effects of cutting trees of mangrove, coastal line has no more protection or barrier from lunge of sea wave, storm and current, so in slowly but surely in continue, coastal will be erosion. Beside that’s fish and another biota no more live, they died or move to other area. Fisherman got the impact from this, they more difficult to get a good catch.

Infrastructure and settlement would be damaged too. Fertility of soil drop cause ecological is not balance. To solve this problem, local government partnership with local community, NGO, land owners and donors try to build of break water.

First they develop of hard structure, but erosion still happened. Finally they are aware to restore of the coastal ecosystem as an originally which all factor is balance. They combine of mangrove replanting and break water using bamboo. And this system proved successful to decrease of coastal erosion.

The method is build bamboo construction to protect seedling or propagules of mangrove, after seedling growing up and increased sediment or accretion, they build another construction in front of it and so on. In five years it can forward until 30 meters.

Mangroves of Bang Khun Thian.

2. Deforestation of Mangrove
The reason of cutting mangroves is lands open to change to ponds area. At the beginning the farmer can get a lot of many from aquaculture activity, but in the long time they income become lower, cause of environmental can’t more support aquaculture. Production of ponds is decline.

Finally, local community be aware to change back of ponds area, particularly near of coastal line, to mangrove forest or rehabilitation. They are self supporting re-plant of mangroves such us Rhizophora sp and Avicennia sp. Land owners of ponds and local community arrange of agreement to change their ponds into mangrove ecosystem.

Bang Pakong
Based on discussion in the Bang Pakong Municipal office with the Deputy of Mayor and his staff, there were found crucial issues and how these issues are addressed:

1. Ecotourism
Bang Pakong River mouth into the Bay of Bangkok, in this are there is formed of estuarine ecosystem which is very many biota like dolphin (particularly in November-February each year) and sea cow (Dugong). Local government can catch the opportunity to develop of ecotourism.

Ecotourism activity brings a lot of income to the municipal and prepares job opportunity to local community like guide tourist and selling souvenirs. But cause of human activity on the land, sediment and another element from domestic or industrial pollutant into the river and finally go to the estuarine in Bang Pakong River.

There was taking the consequences to the water river quality. Oxygen dissolved will be decreased and water becomes acidic cause of acidification process. Sediment causes mouth of river shallow and difficulties for fisherman boat come into the river.

Municipal government and committee (members from various stakeholders) take policy to solve the issues and to increase tourist come: (1) control of industrial and housing waste into the river, (2) require the industries to treat their liquid waste before into the river, (3) dredge the river mouth, (4) build study centre and tourism centre in small island at the river mouth, (5) recovery the estuarine ecosystem with expectation dolphin and sea cow will be back to the habitat, and (6) increase public awareness to concern about environmental.

2. Sea bass (Centropristis striata) farming
On the coastal shallow water, local community and business man develop of sea bass aquaculture. Product from sea bass aquaculture will be export and domestic consuming. The government gets of tax from sea bass aquaculture product.

But the issues arise from fertilizing where there bring N, P, K into the water. This situation if left to can cause of eutrophication and this is not good for the water quality. Local government issued some policy to solve this problem with control area of aquaculture activity.

3. Industry
Based on Deputy of Mayor explanation, industrial sector began to establish since 30 years ago. This sector developed very fast cause support with good infrastructure and good governance. But it was bring a lot of consequence for the environmental such us pollution and massive exploration of the coastal natural resources.

Beside of requiring of industrial company to process liquid waste (as mention in point 1), municipal government also requires of the company social responsibility (CSR). Some company has prepared scholarship to the student in local community, organized several training to raise awareness in environmental issues such us training in mangrove planting and alternative livelihoods for wives (gender issues).

Local government has determined a long term objective focus in development (10-15 years in the future and evaluate every 5 years each), the center economic is industrial and supporting with sector of ecotourism and sea farming (sea bass).

To support this goal, municipal government has declared to (1) conservation of nature, (2) promote ecotourism, (3) community capacity building program, (4) develop and maintenance public infrastructure, and (5) raise up of more “good governance”.

ICM was developed by local government and local community in both regions has been good. But they must more concern and to keep in sustainability issues because this is important to make sure continuity of the policy.

Partnership between local government and local community, NGO’s, academic stakeholders must keep tight cooperation. For the example, in the Bang Khun Thian, it must be ensured to continuity inter-relationship between fish pond land owners and local community to keep mangrove rehabilitation in the long term.

It’s important to keep relationship with periodically meeting to share and solve the related issues, and build trust in the community (point 7 in ICM principles).

(Instructor: Dr. Gallardo. Photo: 1, 2: Courtesy of MFF Thailand, 3 ).

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