EARTH begins initial probe at illegal dumping site in Lopburi
EARTH REPORT| 21 September 2021
EARTH’s initial fieldwork at industrial waste covert dumping site in Lopburi found widespread chemical leakage with VOC level reaching the highest limit of portable air detector. More samples are being collected for further analysis.
Following last week’s reports of covert dumping of industrial wastes in Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi province, technical officers from Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH) investigated the two dumping sites and collected environmental samples for analysis.
At the first and main site, EARTH officers observed large number of 200-litre barrels that had been squeezed, causing unknown chemicals to leaked onto the ground. Locals stated that waste dumpers had used backhoe diggers to squeeze the barrels. Around the barrels were scatterings of various types of wastes including plastic. The waste piles emitted foul odor, reminiscent of industrial wastes and chemicals.
Some water puddles around the dumping sites were black-colored. Some had orange films floating on the surface. Below the dumping site, the team observed unidentified white substances scattered over a wide sloping area leading to a large pond located on a lower altitude to the dumping site.
EARTH’s technical officer expressed concern that these contaminants would cause pollution of the pond and the surrounding soil.
The officer further noted the VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) level in the air, which at various points reached up to 2000 ppb (parts per billion) – the maximum level that can be detected by the Atmoszense ATMOS-NB-H portable air detector.
Local farmers in the area added that the smell of chemicals affect people living as far as 2 km away from the site. Many locals had to temporarily relocate to escape the foul smell. Most are extremely concerned that they may not be able to continue their agricultural livelihood if the soil and water become polluted.
EARTH also investigated the second dumping site, which is the home of the mother of the first dumping site’s owner. The brother of the dumping site’s owner spoke to EARTH’s officers, saying that the wastes his brother brought there emit a strange smell, like “liquid medicine”.
The second site is characterized by a large pile of gravels and soil, interspersed with unidentified goopy, viscous substances. The pile was located in front of the house and next to a public waterway. At the time of the investigation, the area has the smell of shampoo and soap mixed with the odors of wastes similar to those noticed in the first site. Highest VOC level detected at 182 ppb.
EARTH will continue to observe and investigate the covert dumping situation, and to conduct further analysis of environmental samples from the sites.
Read more in Thai at มูลนิธิบูรณะนิเวศ (EARTH)