Tak’s disposal pits scrutinised ahead of cadmium tailings relocation

Picture courtesy of Tak Provincial Industry Office

The disposal pits in Tak are under tight scrutiny by the Industry Ministry and local agencies, as they prepare for the relocation of cadmium tailings from Samut Sakhon. The permanent secretary for industry, Nattapol Rangsitpol, confirmed he had discussions with Tak governor Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj about the readiness of the province to handle the relocation.

In collaboration with several local agencies, the Industry Ministry is ensuring the robustness of disposal pits. This includes inspecting the cement structure, drainage system, and machinery, as required by an environmental impact assessment. The safety of the surrounding environment will also be evaluated before the cadmium tailings are moved into the pits.

The Public Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act’s Section 29 has been invoked by the province to limit access within a 100-metre radius of the seven disposal pit sites and warehouses for the next 90 days.

Nattapol is also collaborating with Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt to examine factories suspected of involvement throughout the capital. Similar inspections will be carried out in various provinces with the assistance of the Industrial Works Department and provincial industry offices.

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So far, no additional cadmium tailings have been reported, with the current total remaining at 12,535 tonnes. The burial site for the tailings is less than 1 kilometre away from the Ping River, in tambon Nong Bua Tai of Mueang district.

More than 1,000 households are located nearby, and many residents have expressed concerns about the potential health and environmental impacts of relocating the tailings to their area.

The Move Forward Party MP for Tak, Karit Pannaim, relayed the villagers’ request for health checks to be conducted on all individuals in nearby communities before the relocation, reported Bangkok Post.

Yesterday, the Provincial Waterworks Authority assured that water samples from Tak, Samut Sakhon, and Chon Buri were free from cadmium contamination and safe for use. The authority has increased its water quality surveillance, regularly testing water supplies from its 234 branches.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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