Families near dump fire say health in threat due to foul air

national March 19, 2014 00:00

By Pongphon Sarnsamak
The Natio

Residents in Tambon Praeksa in Samut Prakan fear the long-term health impact of inhaling toxic smog caused by a huge fire burning in a garbage dump near their homes.

“I am worried my six-month-old-son will develop respiratory difficulties,” Niphaporn Penchan, 24, said. 
Her son was born prematurely and already suffers from lung problems. 
Her house is located only 100 metres from the burning garbage. When she heard of the fire on Sunday afternoon, Niphaporn gathered her stuff and took her family to a shelter at the Praeksa Administrative Organisation’s multi-purpose building. 
The organisation had sent a car to her house to help with the move. Niphaporn has been living at this shelter for two days and has not been back to her house as the toxic smog still covers areas near the fire. 
“I’m so worried that robbers will steal belongings from my house and I’m afraid too the fire will spread to the house,” she said. 
Niphaporn added she was worried about the health impact on her younger sister, who is expecting a baby by the end of this month. 
Rungtiwa Panrat, 54, whose house is 500 metres from the garbage dump fire, said she had been living at a temporary shelter since Sunday evening as she could not breathe well. 
She suffers from allergic symptoms and fears they will become severe given the smog. “ I have to use wet towels to clean my skin which has a rash,” she said. 
Rungtiwa went back to clean her house but could only stay there three to four hours due to the high density of the toxic air. 
Rungthip Somsri, 54, who lives in Saensuk cooperative community 500 metres from the garbage site, said she developed red eyes immediately after exposure to the smog. She also has a sore throat and rashes on her skin. 
She said her granddaughter has the same symptoms and often vomits after breathing in the pollution. 
“I hope everything will return to normal soon. I wanna go home,” she said.

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