A Workshop on Non-point Source Water Pollution Management


Thailand is facing deteriorating water quality in both freshwater and coastal water. Although water pollution comes from both point and non-point sources, the management of non-point source pollution is more challenging due to the difficulty of pinpointing its sources. The Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI), together with the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), held a one-day workshop, “Thailand 4.0 and the Non-point Source Management Innovation,” on July 25, 2018, at the Century Park Hotel, Bangkok. The opening remarks were delivered by Associate Professor Dr. Chanathip Pharino, the director of the Public Wellbeing Division, TRF, and Professor Dr. Skorn Mongkolsuk, the director of the Laboratory of Biotechnology, CRI.

This workshop was part of a TRF-funded research project, “Development of Microbial Source Tracking Methods: A Case Study of Tha Chin River Basin.” Dr. Kwanrawee Sirikanchana, Research Scientist from the Laboratory of Biotechnology, CRI, is the Principal Investigator, and Dr. Pinida Leelapanang Kampangthong, Environmental Specialist from the Freshwater Division, Water Quality Management Bureau, Pollution Control Department, is the Co-Investigator. The one-day workshop facilitated over 50 participants from academia, government agencies, and the private sector.

The program began with the presentation, “Non-point Sources: Challenges from Past to Present,” by the research team to raise awareness of the significance and the challenges of non-point sources in Thailand and in other countries. Subsequently, invited experts from government, private, and academic sectors led a seminar, “Successes and Opportunities for Pollution Management in the Thailand 4.0 Era.”

The afternoon session began with a presentation entitled, “Innovative Technology for Indicating Pollution Sources using Microbial Source Tracking (MST),” presented by a research team that introduced the technology and disseminated information about the outcome of the project, which can differentiate pollution sources by using microbes from human sewage and animal farms along the Tha Chin river. The project also facilitated an effective policy for pollution control in surface water. Subsequently, the workshop featured a brain-storming group discussion, “Next Step for Academic Research and Pollution Management Policies.” The activity’s goals were to: 1) create a research network to support MST research for pollution management and 2) link research to policies and interventions for pollution management.

In general, this workshop has raised awareness of non-point source pollution and management and has emphasized the potential of MST technology to assist in the pollution management in Thailand. Area-based research and policy co-formulation by governmental agencies and academia were deemed important factors that could effectively link research knowledge to applications for water pollution management.