3 Top Environmental Issues in Thailand & Their Solutions

Natural resources are abundant in Thailand, which has helped to support regional livelihoods and spur economic development.

The Thai manufacturing, export, and tourism sectors have all benefited from forests, watersheds, marine habitats, and mineral resources.

However, over the past few decades, fast economic growth has resulted from the unsustainable exploitation of these natural resources.

In many cases, economic concerns have trumped environmental concerns.

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Thailand’s fast-rising population, industrial activity, and expanding economy are the main causes of the country’s environmental pollution. Large cities like Bangkok experience pollution problems such as a rise in the volume of solid waste that is being inappropriately disposed of, poor air quality, and noise pollution.

In the meantime, inefficient wastewater drainage, community growth, and agricultural deforestation all affect the country’s water quality.

The number of complaints about environmental pollution in Thailand surpassed 18 000 in 2020, setting a new high since 2016.

In this article, we take a look at some of the environmental issues in Thailand and ways to mitigate their effects.

The List of Environmental Issues in Thailand

Thailand is dealing with an increase in environmental deterioration in a number of areas, including deforestation, desertification, water scarcity, climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, and falling wildlife populations.


Water contamination is currently Thailand’s biggest and most serious environmental issue. The north-eastern region of Thailand experiences dryness more so than the south-west monsoon.

Thailand has the lowest water availability per capita in Asia since 2002, compared to all other Asian nations. Its water is unfit for human consumption in close to one third of the country. Untreated home sewage, industrial waste water, and solid hazardous wastes combine to create this non-potable water.

Similar to air pollution, Bangkok’s populated center sector is particularly at risk from water pollution. The water table in the capital cities has been diminished as a result of high amounts of home and industrial waste water.

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Subsidence of the ground has recently been brought on by the water table’s decline.

The Gulf of Thailand and other coastal waters are also having problems. Domestic waste water, along with garbage from industries and tourism, significantly pollutes the Gulf. Numerous rivers, including the Chao Phraya, Pattani, and Ranong, in addition to the Gulf, have significant pollution levels.

The heavy metals that have been leaking into Thailand’s waterways for many years are another significant source of pollution. Because mercury levels are currently significantly higher than expected, ecosystems are in grave danger.

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Each year, a large number of patients are admitted to hospitals due to infections and disorders brought on by water contamination. Typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, trachoma, hookworm infection, and diarrhea are a few of these. Birth deformities, liver cancer, and skin diseases can all be brought on by exposure to heavy metals in water.

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The Thai government has recently put a lot of effort into researching and funding waste water treatment facilities. Currently, a sizable portion of the populace relies primarily on purified water. More people will have access to the clean water as more treatment facilities are being built.


Thailand’s industrial expansion has resulted in recent records of high air pollution levels.

Vehicles, particularly in Bangkok, contribute to pollution in addition to industry and factories.

There needs to be more action taken to improve water and air quality, minimize factory fossil fuel use, and cut vehicle emissions.

Thailand will face a severe environmental dilemma in the road if rising levels of harmful chemicals are not prevented from being released into the air and water. The Pollution Control Department is one of the organizations that has implemented ways to lessen air pollution from specific sources.

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Once put into practice, these suggestions for improved public transportation and lower emission automobile engines will begin to minimize air pollution.

In Thailand, there are more motorcycles than any other type of vehicle, accounting for 75% of total traffic. Cars, Lorries, and buses also produce significant amounts of pollution.

Garbage burning, open cooking, agricultural burning practices, including planned forest fires, and other factors all contribute to air pollution. During the dry season, Thai farmers in northern Thailand ignite wildfires. The main cause of the severe air pollution in the Thai highlands is fires.


Thailand’s forest cover has significantly decreased as a result of conversion of forested land to agricultural use. Due to the conversion of what were formerly wetlands and forests into more rice fields and urban growth, the forest cover declined dramatically from 53% in 1961 to 38.9% in 2020.

Government action has been taken to prevent logging. Rates of deforestation have decreased after the rule was implemented. The effects of deforestation, such as erosion, are still being studied and dealt with, though.

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Deforestation also contributes to other environmental issues like dry soils, river sedimentation, and animals losing their natural home. Due to the rise of industry, tourism, and commercial fishing, wetland and mangrove habitats have been severely degraded. Much of Thailand’s biodiversity has been lost as a result of this.

Solutions to Environmental Issues in Thailand

Through a combination of policies intended to reserve existing forest area for conservation and the promotion of tree plantations to increase the amount of forest cover, the Thai government is starting to stress forest restoration through both legislation and activity of the Royal Forest Department.

By consuming less meat, eliminating single-use packaging, dining sustainably, and opting for recycled or ethically sourced wood items, regular people can reduce deforestation. Additionally, they can recycle their waste, stop using palm oil, start planting trees, and go paperless at home and at work.

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The government is moving rapidly, cracking down on highly polluting vehicles, sending in the police and military to investigate factories and incinerators, closing schools to protect kids, and even sending in cloud-seeding planes to induce rain and purify the air.

To save energy, turn off all lights that are not in use. Pollution reduction is made simple by doing this. – Consumption paper bags or cloth bags in place of plastic ones to cut down on the use of those materials. When not in use, electrical items like the air conditioner and television should be turned off.

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To lessen water pollution, use natural therapy by planting aquatic plants. Never dump waste or wastewater into a water source or a public drain. Reduce your daily water usage or reuse water by washing your dishes or clothes and then using it to water plants.

What Are Some Of The Biggest Environmental Problems in Thailand?

Thailand is dealing with an increase in environmental deterioration in a number of areas, including deforestation, desertification, water scarcity, climate change, air and water pollution, biodiversity loss, and falling wildlife populations.

Is Pollution A Problem in Thailand?

Thailand is extremely polluted for a number of causes related to the prevalent “urban diseases,” including population increase, overcrowding, industry sector expansion, and poorly enforced regulations on businesses or persons that emit huge quantities of noxious emissions.

Why Is There So Much Pollution in Thailand?

One of the worst polluters is coal-fired power facilities. There are currently 27 coal-fired power stations operating in Thailand, producing a total of 34.9 million tonnes of CO2 as well as significant amounts of NOx, SOx, and other pollutants, minuscule dust particles, often known as PM2.

What Are Four Problems That Affect Thailand?

Thailand’s rapid economic development has resulted in a number of environmental problems. The nation has concerns with air quality, dwindling wildlife populations, deforestation, soil erosion, scarce water supplies, and waste management.

Why Is Thailand Prone To Natural Disasters?

Even though droughts are more frequent and common than floods, they can both happen in the same year. This is caused in part by the country’s relatively intensive land use practices, as well as regional variations in physical attributes and rainfall patterns.

Is Food Waste A Big Problem in Thailand?

Even while the area receives millions of tourists each year, it also has a food waste issue. 46% of the almost 10,000 tons of solid garbage that the city collects each day is comprised of uneaten food. Traditionally, landfills are where the majority of food waste is dumped.

How Clean Is The Air in Thailand?

Fine particle matter (PM2.5) concentration in Thailand’s air in April 2022 was four times higher than the yearly WHO recommended threshold for air quality. This indicates that the air the Thai people breathe is too filthy and will harm their health.

What Is The Environment Like in Thailand?

Thailand has a tropical climate that is impacted by the monsoon winds every few months. Thailand receives a stream of warm, humid air from the Indian Ocean in May during the southwest monsoon, which causes heavy rain throughout the nation, particularly in the mountainous areas.

How Can We Stop Pollution in Thailand?

To save electricity, turn off all lights that are not in use. This is a simple method for lowering pollution. By substituting paper or cloth bags for plastic ones, you can use less of them. When not in use, electrical items like the TV and air conditioner should be turned off and should not be left on.

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Is Thailand an Eco-friendly Country?

Thailand is well renowned for its beaches, but it is also becoming a popular eco-friendly travel destination. Thailand’s government has committed enormous resources to environmental protection because it recognizes the need of doing so.

Why Does Thailand Flood So Much?

Due to its location on naturally occurring flood plains close to the delta of the Chao Phraya River into the Gulf of Thailand and the numerous networks of canals used for irrigation and transportation, Bangkok and the areas around it are prone to flooding.

Is Deforestation A Problem In Thailand?

Due to the expansion and globalization of Thailand’s agricultural sector as well as the relative scarcity of land in the lowlands, agriculture has grown significantly in the highlands of Thailand, where the majority of deforestation has taken place.

Are There Any Natural Disasters in Thailand?

Thailand is susceptible to epidemics, landslides, heat waves, earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, droughts, and forest fires. Thailand is also vulnerable to technology risks like chemical mishaps.

Has Thailand Ever Had A Tsunami?

8,212 persons have died in Thailand as a result of two tsunami-class tidal waves that have occurred since 2004. Tsunamis thus occur extremely seldom here. The strongest tidal wave observed in Thailand so far reached a height of 19.60 meters. Total casualties from this tsunami on December 26, 2004, were 8,212.

How Often Do Natural Disasters Occur in Thailand?

They take place roughly seven times a year on average. Isarn, Southern Thailand, and Central Thailand have been the most severely affected areas. The Pacific typhoon season typically starts in April with less powerful storms and lasts until November.

Do They Recycle in Thailand?

While Thailand’s local government handles waste management through decentralized systems of landfills, composting, and incineration, the informal garbage collectors are mostly responsible for waste recycling.

Why did Thailand Ban Plastic Bags?

Thailand is fortunate to have a terrain rich in natural beauty, which may be appreciated at its magnificent national and marine parks. The need to safeguard the environment is urgent, and although plastic bags and other goods are convenient, the ecology and wildlife are harmed by their use.


Is Thailand Tap Water Clean?

Even though you may safely brush your teeth with it and steam rice with it, tap water in Thailand isn’t typically regarded as being potable, unlike in many affluent nations. Some locals boil tap water before cooling it to drink later, although this is not advised.

How Many Trees Are Cut Down in Thailand?

Thailand lost 2.30Mha of tree cover between 2001 and 2021, or 12% less than in 2000, and produced 1.27Gt of CO2e emissions.

Why Is There Deforestation in Thailand?

According to an FAO investigation, the main causes of deforestation in Thailand include land conversion for large-scale agriculture, infrastructural development, small-scale shifting agriculture, and illicit logging.

Among the agricultural products connected to deforestation are palm oil and tea. Check out the 14 Effects of Bush Burning on the Environment.

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