People in central Thailand have no place to hide from landfill emissions

Photo by Thai PBS.

Residents of Thailand’s central provinces of Lop Buri and Sa Kaeo have no place to hide from emissions caused by landfill fires.

In Lop Buri’s Hua Samrong sub-district, residents complained about the foul smell and smoke emanating from the burning landfill operated by Tha Wung sub-district municipal office. The smoke and smell are said to be penetrating their homes, even when doors and windows are closed, Thai PBS reported. Many are worried about their children developing respiratory problems.

Boonlert Pruetthakorn, the vice mayor of Tha Wung sub-district municipality, suspects that someone set fire to the landfill. However, strong winds have made it difficult for firemen to extinguish the flames, he said.

Meanwhile, in Sa Kaeo province’s Muang municipality, local officials advised residents to wear face masks after a fire broke out at another landfill yesterday. The fire scattered dust and smoke over a radius of about 10 kilometres. Numerous residents in the main city district of Sa Kaeo Province complained about the smell of burning garbage every time there is a strong breeze, forcing them to wear face masks all the time.

Yesterday, officials used a drone to observe the fire at the landfill in Sa Kaeo Muang municipality. They are trying to figure out the best way to extinguish the fire and help affected residents.

According to officials, the landfill in Sa Kaeo spans over 43 rai (6.88 hectares) and contains around 50,000 tonnes of waste. It was reported yesterday that the cause of the inferno was believed to be sparked by burning sugarcane fields. The PM2.5 reading as of press time was 73 microgrammes per cubic metre of air (µg/m3), exceeding Thailand’s safe level of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre.

There was another landfill fire in Thailand just last month.

An uncontrollable fire raged for at least two days straight at a rubbish dump in Samut Prakan province, just south of Bangkok. The fire Praeksa district firefighters deployed over 20 fire engines but the fire was still not under control two days later. Residents were complaining about suffering from a cough, sore throat, burning eyes, and a foul smell in the air.

Environment News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.