Toxic-waste fire victims file complaint against authorities

The fire continues to burn under the rubble at one of the destroyed waste warehouses owned by Win Process in Ban Khai district of Rayong on Tuesday. (Photo: Pollution Control Department)
The fire continues to burn under the rubble at one of the destroyed waste warehouses owned by Win Process in Ban Khai district of Rayong on Tuesday. (Photo: Pollution Control Department)

About 100 people affected by the fire at a hazardous waste storage plant in Rayong province have filed a complaint against the industrial authorities who earlier approved it.

They blame the authorities for the plant's prolonged impact on their health and the environment.

Meanwhile, officials said on Wednesday they had not ruled out arson as the cause of the blaze at the shutdown waste warehousing facility in Ban Khai district. The plant's electricity supply had long been disconnected. The owner, Win Process Ltd, is in bankruptcy.

Residents of nearby villages filed their complaint with police.

Their complaint targeted the director-general of the Department of Industrial Works and the industrial chief of Rayong province. They asked police to take legal action against them for allowing Win Process to store toxic waste there since it opened until it was destroyed by fire early on Monday morning.

The complainants said they had suffered from the adverse impacts for over a decade.

They also feared for the environmental impact when rain washes the ash from the destroyed facility out into the area of their homes and farms. No officials had bothered to meet with them or given any assistance, they said.

On Wednesday firefighters continued with their efforts to put out the blaze in the Win Process warehouse compound.

It was still too dangerous for investigators to enter.

Win Process was founded in 2010 as a recycling business using waste from petrochemical plants in Rayong. Its warehouses are in Ban Khai district.

In 2021 local people complained about the environmental damage caused by the plant. The Rayong Provincial Court in 2022 ordered the company to clean up toxic waste contamination and pay 20.82 million baht in compensation to the affected villagers.

The company entered bankruptcy proceedings. The industrial waste remained in its compound, stored in five buildings.

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  • adverse: having a negative or harmful effect on something - ในทางลบ, เป็นผลร้าย
  • arson: the illegal use of fire to destroy a house, building, or property; an arsonist is a person who commits arson - การลอบวางเพลิง  
  • ash: the grey powder that remains after something has burned - เถ้าถ่าน, ขี้เถ้
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • bankruptcy (noun): when a business runs out of money, cannot pay its debts and has to stop doing business; business failure - การล้มละลาย
  • blaze: a fire - เพลิง
  • bother: to spend time and/or energy doing something - ทำให้ตัวเองยุ่งยาก, ยุ่งกับ
  • compensation: money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย
  • complainant: a person who makes a formal complaint in a court of law - ผู้ร้อง(ทุกข์),โจทก์,ผู้ฟ้องร้อง
  • complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ
  • contamination: the process of making something dirty, polluted, or poisonous by adding a chemical, waste, or infection - การปนเปื้อน
  • impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
  • prolonged: continuing for a long time - ยืดเวลาออกไป
  • toxic: poisonous and harmful to people, animals or the environment - เป็นพิษ
  • waste (noun): the useless part that is thrown away after something is used - ขยะ, ของเสีย, ที่ไม่มีประโยชน์, การสูญเสียไปโดยเปล่าประโยชน์, การหมดเปลือง
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