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Praksa fire leads to calls for nationwide dumpsite controls

THE RECENT massive fire at a dumpsite in Samut Prakan's tambon Praksa has prompted senators to call for a Health Department survey of 2,400 garbage dumps and for the issuance of ministerial regulations to control dumping sites nationwide.

Sonthi Kotchawat, an adviser to the Upper House's environmental panel, said he was worried that 2,400 dumpsites across the country would be at risk from fires due to methane gas generated from garbage inside the sites.

In the past few weeks, at least six dumpsites have caught fire from unknown causes.

Ayutthaya province, listed as a World Heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, has at least 20 dumpsites. Villagers and tourists have filed many complaints about the management of the sites.

For the long term, it's up to law enforcement to resolve the garbage problem, he said.

The senate panel invited local residents near Praksa's dumpsite to provide more details about illegal garbage dumping and management practices at the dumping site.

Boonthai Tangdenchai, owner of the Praksa site, was also invited to explain management of dumpsites to the panel. He sent a lawyer as his representative to provide details.

Samut Prakan Governor Wanchai Kongkasem said police were now taking legal action against people involved in the illegal management of the Praksa site, which covers 150 rai and is 40 metres deep.

So far, 2,187 residents have filed complaints with police claiming to have been affected by the garbage dump.

Industrial Works Department deputy director-general Seri Atipattha said the site had been registered as a garbage dump for community waste. It was not designated for industrial waste.

He said he would team up with Bang Pu Industrial Estate Authority to search industrial waste sites and factories that have disposed of industrial waste.

He also instructed his officials to examine 3,000 dumpsites nationwide to monitor the illegal disposal of industrial waste.


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