Thailand, a Southeast Asian nation, is a country with slightly over 69 million people. While Thailand’s population has grown, the country’s water quality has deteriorated, posing health dangers if water is not treated before consumption.

Around 43 million Thais drink contaminated water, causing diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and dysentery to infect their bodies.

Pollutants dumped into rivers and streams primarily contaminate this water. Below are ten sources of such pollutants:

Table of Contents

1. Global Warming 

Flooding has harmed Thailand’s water supplies almost as much as repeated droughts have. Flood-related standing water poses a severe concern. 

Contaminated floodwater contains a variety of unknown hazards to one’s health, including rashes, infections, and disease. 

Many people have met their fate as a result of severe flooding, and hundreds have been displaced. 

Thailand was hit by severe floods in September 2019, resulting in 19 deaths. Floods have impacted more than 150,000 households, according to preliminary estimates. 

The constant unpredictable weather patterns that have taken over Thailand’s climate have significantly impacted water quality.

2. Industrial Waste

Industrial waste has been one of the most common causes of water pollution in Thailand. Factories Emmitt and release wastage into the water. 

Alongside, that At 17.8 million cubic meters per day, the industrial sector was the second-largest distributor of dirty water.

Industries generate a tremendous amount of garbage, which contains harmful chemicals Iand pollutants, polluting the air and harming our environment and ourselves. 

Lead, mercury, sulfur, nitrates, asbestos, and various other hazardous compounds can be found in them. 

Due to a lack of an effective waste management system, many enterprises discharge trash into freshwater, passing into canals, rivers, and ultimately into the sea. 

Toxic chemicals can alter the color of water, increase the number of minerals in the water (a process known as eutrophication), modify the temperature of the water, and constitute a severe threat to aquatic life.

3. Tourism 

Tourism - Thailand Dirty water
Crowded waterways of Bangkok, Thailand (source)

Tourism has a significant impact on water pollution, but cruise liners are a significant contributor. 

Every year, these ships, which are a favorite vacation option for many, discharge a large amount of rubbish into the ocean. 

To do so, they frequently cross into international waters. They’ll dump the untreated sewage waste of the thousands of people on board in these unregulated regions.

According to Thai officials, two-thirds of the coral reef in the Thai resort of Phuket has been damaged or destroyed due to increased tourists and fishing. 

According to Nippon Pongsuwanthe, a Phuket Marine Biological Center spokeswoman, much of the damage is attributable to debris from construction.

Three episodes of coral bleaching in the 1990s, a phenomenon linked to rising water temperatures and pollution, were also to blame for the reef’s demise, he said, with nets from fishing boats and tourists signing up with the island’s plethora of diving schools accounting for a smaller portion of the damage. 

According to recent research by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, only 25% of the 14.4-square-kilometer coral reef encircling the island, located approximately 863 kilometers south of Bangkok, is largely intact.

4. Residential wastage

Daily, residential areas produced 9.6 million cubic meters of contaminated water. In 2016, Thailand’s rivers received a total of 3.5 billion cubic meters of wastewater.

Overflows from sewer systems are a significant source of water pollution. When sewage overflows, the contents of the sewer can enter the water before being cleansed. 

The EPA estimates that 40,000 sewer overflows occur each year. The flow could result in oceans, rivers, and estuaries, creating health problems, shellfishing restrictions, and beach closures.

Pollution issues arise from poorly managed septic systems in coastal locations as well.

5. Dumping Trash

Trash - Thailand Dirty Water
Floating Trash on Thailand water (source)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration collects 8,000 tons of garbage per day, but hundreds of thousands of tons more are never treated. 

There’s more to the problem than merely dumping the trash. In Bangkok, boats on the Chao Phraya River employ salvaged diesel truck engines that discharge pollution directly into the canals. 

Buildings along the water’s edge readily remove waste into the river. People swim in trash-filled canals, and the city’s drinking water is tainted with rubbish, serious health consequences. 

Bangkok’s most critical environmental problem is a shortage of clean water, but smog and air pollution also pose serious health risks.

According to the government’s Pollution Control Department, Bangkok’s streets and rivers double as waste dumps, and pollution has reached a “critical level.” 

6. Mining Activities

Mining - Thailand dirty water
Mining Activities in Thailand (source)

Crushing rock and removing coal and other minerals from underground is known as mining. Mining activities release a lot of metal waste and sulfides into the water, which is terrible for the environment.

When these elements are released in their natural state, they contain dangerous compounds that can increase the number of toxic elements when mixed with water, posing a health risk. 

7. Chemical fertilizers and Pesticides

Rice Field - Thailand dirty water
Rice Field in Thailand (source)

Farmers employ chemical fertilizers and insecticides to protect their crops from insects and bacteria. They are beneficial to the plant’s development. 

When these chemicals are mixed with water, however, they form pollutants damaging to plants and animals.

When it rains, the chemicals mix with the precipitation and trickle down into rivers and canals, posing a significant threat to aquatic life.

As current land and water supplies are threatened by expanding urbanization, environmental challenges are increasing. 

The land is being taken out of agricultural production, putting further pressure on the reallocation of water now used in agriculture. 

Furthermore, the requirement for enormous quantities of fertilizers and pesticides to manage pests and weeds has caused environmental and human health problems: Agrochemicals damage rivers, lakes, and underground water posing health and environmental dangers to humans.

Farmers are already enriching soils and protecting crops with organic and sustainable ways that work with nature, not against it. They can offer food for everyone as an alternative to this risky and expensive agriculture system.

8. Animal Waste

When it rains, the feces produced by animals wash away into the rivers. It subsequently combines with other toxic compounds, resulting in cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, jaundice, typhoid, and other water-borne disorders.

9. Leakage from landfills

Landfill leakage - Thailand dirty water
Landfill getting transformed into water (source)

Landfills are nothing more than a big mound of waste that emits an unpleasant odor and can be seen throughout the city. When it rains, landfills can leak, polluting underground water with a wide range of toxins.


The quantity and quality of Thailand’s water resources have been under growing strain in recent years due to deteriorating watersheds, the elimination of wetlands, and inefficient water resource allocation. 

Over the previous two decades, water demand has expanded in lockstep with Thailand’s GDP growth, but impending water shortages now pose a severe threat to the country’s future development. 

Along with Cambodia and Laos, Thailand must create an integrated approach to water resource management to address water pollution issues. 

(Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Thinley Doma Ghale holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Kathmandu University. She enjoys writing articles on climate change animals and loves to travel and experience new ideas, places, meeting people, and learning from them. As a social science student, research has always been her area of interest.