Amidst the surging interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations, the Ministry of Industry (MOI) has revised the obligations under its notification on certain factory operators in monitoring and reporting air pollution data. The aim of this notification is to bring up to date the current requirements, extend the coverage of applicability and help improve the availability of emission data to the public.
The new MOI Notification regarding requirements on the installation of tools or special devices for reporting air pollution from factory funnels (“New Notification“) was promulgated in the Royal Gazette on 10 June 2022 and will become effective on 11 June 2023. The New Notification will replace the previous notification regarding the same requirements (“Previous Notification“) which has been in force for more than 20 years.
Many factories are subject to reporting and environmental impact assessment (EIA) documentation requirements under the Enhancement and Conservation of the National Environmental Quality Act. However, the information reported under such act has not been directly provided to the MOI. The New Notification therefore prescribes requirements regarding the installation of tools or special devices (i.e., Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (CEMS)) for reporting information on air pollution from factory funnels to the Department of Industrial Works (DIW) via an online system. This will allow the public to monitor the status of air pollution emissions via a mobile application developed by the DIW as well.
Essentially, key obligations under the New Notification remain in line with the Previous Notification but one major change is the expanded coverage. That is, the New Notification will apply to factories countrywide, as opposed to the limited coverage in certain areas of the Rayong province under the Previous Notification.
The main focus of the New Notification is to monitor air pollution emissions from large-sized factories or production units which conduct a large amount of combustion activities, such as thermal power stations; petroleum refinery factories; metal smelting factories; waste incinerators; and glass, cement and paper pulp factories with large production capacities. The New Notification also extends to all types of factories which use boilers of which the size is 30 steam ton per hour or more, or factories which have heat input of 100 MMBTU per hour or more. The criteria for factories under the New Notification are in line with the criteria of activities which require EIA documentation.
Existing factories which are subject to the New Notification are required to comply with the New Notification within 365 days from the effective date of the New Notification (i.e., by 9 June 2024). A factory operator may apply for a deadline extension and submit its implementation plan to the DIW but the deadline cannot be extended past 31 December 2027.