Residents have asked the Department of Special Investigation to look into huge piles of garbage at a dump site in tambon Ban Pom of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district. Photos by Sithikorn Wongwudthianun
The DSI suspected piles of dust found at a warehouse located on a 20-rai plot in tambon Nong Iroon in Chon Buri's Ban Bung district was mineral, for which a licence is needed if it is being held.
However, the factory claimed it was soil, DSI deputy chief Yanpol Yangyuen said.
A private business must have a proper licence to possess any kind of mineral. The DSI found the factory did not have such a licence, and is now investigating to see what kind of mineral it may be.
Noppadol Cheewa-issarakul, head of the Chon Buri industrial office's industrial minerals section, said he believed the substance was steel dust, which is not a controlled substance.
Mr Yanpol and officials from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the Central Institute of Forensic Science raided the warehouse yesterday.
Huge piles of the dust were discovered. Pol Col Yanpol said the warehouse would be seized and dust samples would be sent for tests.
The DSI had yet to find out where the dust came from or why it was being stored, Pol Col Yanpol said.
It would await the results of tests on the samples. An arrest warrant will be issued for the factory owner, believed to be a foreigner, for not possessing a licence if the samples turn out to be mineral dust.
Warehouse worker Kosit Pathomvaruttanapong, 31, told officials he had been hired to take care of the building. He denied knowing what was stored inside and knew only that the warehouse owner was a man called Mr Fu.
The raid followed complaints from residents who said they dared not use water sources near the warehouse in case they might be contaminated and pose a health hazard, the DSI deputy chief said.
Though the warehouse owner cannot be punished for violating the Mineral Act at this stage, he could face action for operating the warehouse illegally.
Elsewhere, a DSI team also investigated a landfill in Ayutthaya.
The dump, located on a 32-rai plot in tambon Ban Pom of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, contained over 300,000 tonnes of rubbish, which residents said was a health hazard.
Pol Lt Col Pong-in Intharakhao, head of the DSI's security case office, said the DSI had worked with other agencies to investigate the site following complaints from the residents.
They say they are worried by the amount of waste deposited at the dump.
The dump site, under the jurisdiction of Ban Pom tambon administration organisation, is operated by Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya municipality.
Thuang Suwanchairat, 62, a retired teacher and among residents opposing the landfill, claimed the huge piles of waste produced strong odours, polluted water and bred diseases.
He asked the municipality to solve the pollution problem or close the dump.
Somsong Sappakosolkul, municipality mayor, said most waste at the site had been collected from households in the municipal and nearby areas.
Each year, about 40,000 tonnes of rubbish is dumped at the site.
However, last year's flood increased the amount by over 100,000 tonnes, he said.
He promised to address the problem.