This profile was prepared when Surachai Trongngam was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
In the past two decades, rapid industrialization in Thailand has precipitated a decline in the environmental health of the country. While enforcing and raising awareness of Thailand’s environmental laws, Surachai is paving the way for an interdisciplinary public law approach to environmental court cases whereby groups of victims file class action suits utilizing and reinforcing existing legal standards. By advocating for the help of medical and environmental experts, by establishing a network of lawyers, environmental activists and victims, and by using successful precedent-setting verdicts, Surachai addresses not only the intricate legal processes, the current environmental issues and health effects but also the ways in which to enforce legal mechanisms and ensure full compensation for future economic and health damages.