American Journal of Applied Sciences

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORKS

Chutarat Chompunth

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2013.73.80

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 10, Issue 1

Pages 73-80

Abstract

In the past, environmental management in Thailand was only the responsibility of the government. Citizens had to comply with all the related laws and regulations. After participating in Stockholm Conference in 1972, Thai government recognized the need for environmental management. The Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act 1975 was enacted and it changed the overview of environmental management in Thailand. Public participation has been continuously adopted into Thai regulatory framework since the government recognized its importance and capability for solving environmental conflicts in Thailand. Environmental laws and regulations relating to public participation practice in Thailand were reviewed and analyzed. Secondary data from articles, journals and books were evaluated. It was found that Thai government’s approach to handling the environmental problems and conflicts under the Thai laws and mechanisms was top-down management and obviously ineffective. In particular, decisions about environmental protection and management often fail to integrate the opinions of the public. Public participation practice was often avoided and limited. The decision-makers preferred to keep control over the decision and refused to share their authority. The public has few opportunities to influence the decisions. It could be said that Thai environmental laws and regulations are not effectively implemented and enforced. An ineffective implementation and enforcement of the regulations promulgating public participation was an important obstacle to achieve effective process and this could lead to more environmental problems and conflicts.

Copyright

© 2013 Chutarat Chompunth. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.