Rayong residents demand action after fire raises safety fears

Picture courtesy of Disaster Response Association

A demand for immediate action echoed from Rayong residents following a factory fire last month that has heightened concerns over chemical safety. Community members, deeply troubled by the incident, mobilised a protest to present their case to provincial governor Traiphop Wongtrairat.

The villagers convened at Wat Nong Phawa in the Ban Khai district to voice their concerns before proceeding to submit an open letter to the governor. Their primary request was the relocation of hazardous chemicals, which are currently stored perilously close to living areas, and additional aid to cope with the aftermath of the recent fire.

On April 22 at 9am, a fire accompanied by explosions ripped through the industrial waste warehouse of Win Process Co. Post-incident investigations revealed the company’s chemicals were also housed in another warehouse in Map Ta Phut, within Rayong‘s Mueang district.

For their part, officials have responded by slapping the company with charges related to property and human life damage due to recklessness or negligence.

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The immediate response to the fire saw residents evacuated to Wat Nong Phawa for safety reasons. Fortunately, the incident did not result in any casualties. However, the lingering effects have left the community in distress, with many reporting respiratory issues, eye and nose irritation, and skin problems due to persistent chemical odours.

The villagers’ letter outlined a series of actions for the governor’s office to undertake. They requested the establishment of a chemical management task force within a week and the removal of chemicals from factories near residential areas – the first batch within 30 days and the remainder within 90 days. They further insisted on health assessments to detect any toxic substances in their bodies, reported Bangkok Post.

Many were suffering from the strong odour of the chemical and had developed respiratory problems as well as eye and nose irritation and skin inflammation.

Eastern Thailand NewsThailand 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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