EARTH Thailand

Korat governor shut down all chemical containers washing businesses in the province

21 February 2022 | Compiled by EARTH

Following the discovery of heavy metal contamination in the Isan Kiew canal, the Korat governor has ordered the shutdown of all chemical containers washing businesses in Sub Chumpol village, Sikhio District. 

A flurry of news report last week revealed 13 shops in Sub Chumpol operated the business of buying and washing toxic chemical containers, which were then resold for profits. 

Investigation by the Regional Environmental Office 11 (REO 11) linked the activities to heavy metal contamination in the Isan Kiew canal – the source of tap water for many zones in Sikhio district.

After investigating the issue on the grounds, Wichian Chantharanothai, the governor of Korat ordered 12 of the shops to cease operations.

He has also called on central agencies to investigate the origin of these chemical containers. Especially worrying are chemical containers that appear to hold hazardous substances. 

Thananchai Wannasuk, the director of REO 11 has suggested the shop owners in Sikhio be made witnesses in the investigation to find the origins of the toxic chemical containers. This, he stated, would be the best solution.

According to notifications and laws propagated by agencies under the Ministry of Industry, hazardous industrial waste cannot be transported out of factory without the approval of the Department of Industrial Works. Such laws were put in place to ensure hazardous wastes from factories are properly managed and disposed, within a closed and controlled system.

However, as a recent epidemic of industrial waste dumping throughout Thailand and informal waste management practices in the case of Sikhio show, many hazardous substances fall outside the purviews of responsible agencies.

Proper management of hazardous wastes is also mandated in the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal, an international treaty to which Thailand is a signatory. 


For more information on the issue, see EARTH’s previous report (February 14th, 2022)

Further information (In Thai):

[1] Thai PBS, “Korat Governor Shut Down Chemical Containers Washing Shops, Only One had Requested Permits”, Thai PBS, February 16, 2021.

[2] Channel 7, “Order to all Districts – Washing of Hazardous Chemical Containers Banned in Nakhon Ratchasima”, Channel 7, February 16, 2021.

[3] Thai PBS News, “Chemical Containers Washers may be made Witnesses”, YouTube, February 16, 2021.


Photo: Thai PBS, February 16, 2021.