The environmental department has confirmed that residents within 2-5 kilometres of a factory that burned down in central Samut Prakan province can now return home. The air quality in the area has been checked and found to be safe. However, a number of environmental problems remain.
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, Governor Wanchai Kongkasem says talks are underway between officials, the PCD, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and petroleum giant PTT. Concerns have been raised about an industrial chemical known as styrene monomer that has been found in tanks in the area.
In addition, Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa raised the issue of the absorption of contaminated water into the soil and called for a review of surface and underground water sources 12 kilometres from the fire site. .
The Bangkok Post reports that the Royal Irrigation Department has been ordered to close all canal locks in nearby areas to limit the impact.
Environmental activist Sonthi Kotchawat has called for urgent action to contain all environmental pollution and has pointed out that styrene monomer is highly toxic to humans and the environment.
The biggest health risk besides the polluted air, according to Sonthi, is the danger of toxic chemicals in the water. He points out that rainwater can drive chemical spills from the seat of the fire to nearby bodies of water. In addition, rain mixes with pollutants in the air, resulting in acid rain.
“Styrene is a dangerous substance. It can destroy the ecosystem and cause cancer, so the PCD must act quickly to remediate the area.”
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