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It is one of the world's largest petrochemical hubs and has been driving Thailand's industrial growth for decades.

But critics accuse the refineries at Map Ta Phut of contaminating the area's air and water, resulting in at least 2,000 cancer-related deaths among local residents.

Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate was established over 20 years ago as part of the government's policy to develop Thailand's eastern seaboard.

But a landmark ruling to protect the environment last year has made both foreign and domestic investors nervous.

The legal tussle is threatening the nation's economy and thousands of jobs.

On this edition of 101 East, we ask if Thailand can strike a balance between big business and the environment.

This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, April 22, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 0530, 1730; Sunday: 1130; Tuesday: 1430; Thursday: 0630.

Source: Al Jazeera