Water Quality Improvements: A Contingent Valuation Study of The Chao Phraya River
In recent years, environmental degradation has become an increasing concern in Thailand. Of the environmental problems and challenges facing the Kingdom, water pollution is one of the most serious. Among the rivers in Thailand, the Chao Phraya River is the most contaminated. Recently, the Pollution Control Department (1997) reported that the levels of dissolved oxygen in the lower reaches of the Chao Phraya River have been close to zero since 1990, and that by the year 2000, the "King's River" may well be "dead". The finality of this observation is not just an academic hyperbole: so reduced is the level of dissolved oxygen in the lower reaches of the Chao Phraya River that most aquatic life find it impossible to survive. Water, once a "free good", is becoming increasingly scarce and therefore, valuable. But because water is still regarded and used as a free good, there are distortions in the pricing of environmental quality - so-called "market failures". The general failure to price water and maintenance of water quality - or at least to price it accurately - has led to widespread problems of water pollution in the Chao Phraya River.
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