PM demands investigation into Rayong’s hazardous waste plant fire

Picture courtesy of Disaster Response Association Thailand

Prompt investigations into the hazardous waste plant fire in Rayong‘s Ban Khai district have been demanded by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. The fire, which broke out at Win Process’ storage plant, has impacted the lives of 100 villagers since it started on April 22.

The 62 year old Thai prime minister voiced his concerns during a site visit yesterday, querying the duration it would take to unveil the cause of the fire.

Safety concerns have prevented local police from accessing the site for investigation purposes. While the fire currently remains under control, authorities have flagged the potential for a sudden flare-up. Interestingly, arson has not been dismissed as a potential cause for the fire, given the plant’s long-disconnected electricity supply.

A second fire outbreak on April 24 raised alarm bells, with high levels of harmful chemicals detected in the overlying air. The facility reportedly housed around 10,000 tonnes of aluminium dross, as shared by Kanchalee Navickabhum, deputy director of the Pollution Control Department, last week. Water-based extinguishing methods were deemed unsuitable for this fire, as water would only catalyse a chemical reaction, thus intensifying the fire.

Firefighters from the NPC company, based in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, were deployed to help suppress the fire. They have confirmed that the fire is under control and measures are being taken to prevent a potential flare-up.

PM Srettha has instructed the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to draft a rehabilitation plan for the affected residents. The Industrial Works Department and the Pollution Control Department have also been tasked with monitoring air quality and waste removal, reported Bangkok Post.

The Bangkok-born prime minister allegedly criticised the Industry Ministry for their sluggish response to the situation, according to reports. The fire’s cause and its impact on the community continue to be under investigation.

In related news, a fire broke out at an industrial waste and chemical warehouse belonging to the Win Process Company in the eastern province of Rayong at 8.30am on April 22.

Thailand News

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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