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Network urges closure of Praksa dump

THE ANTI-PRAKSA Dumpsite Network yesterday called on the authorities to close permanently the 100-rai (16-hectare) dump in Samut Prakan that caught fire earlier this year and badly affected local residents.

Suchat Naknok, the network's president, said they were planning to ask the National Council for Peace and Order to put in place seven measures to prevent this from happening again.

The measures would include declaring the Praksa garbage site as a polluted zone in order to make way for rehabilitation, prohibiting any business activity that might affect people's health, and requiring businesses to keep the fence around their operations low so people can see what is going on.

The group will also ask for a committee - comprising affected residents, landlords or business operators as well as representatives of civil society and state officials - to be set up to follow related progress, he said.

His comments were made at the "Praksa Model" seminar held to discuss garbage-management issues in Thailand. The forum was hosted yesterday by the network, the Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH) Foundation and Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute.

EARTH director Penchom Saetang said 20 garbage-dump fires since last year, 15 of which occurred in the first six months of 2014, with at least three fires occurring in Praksa alone. She said many dumpsite fires may have stemmed from arson to "destroy evidence in garbage piles", adding that the Praksa case had alerted the authorities to keep an eye on dumps.

The Pollution Control Depart-ment has also recently revealed that 2,024 of the 2,496 community dumps were not being properly managed.

Pichaya Ratchadawong, a lecturer in environmental engineering at Chulalongkorn University, voiced concerns about polluted water from the Praksa dumpsite ruining the food chain and affecting the fish farms nearby. Hence, he said, the authorities need to watch for subsequent impacts and notify the public.






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