Sunday, December 6, 2009

20 hospitalised in Rayong industrial estate chemical leak incident

RAYONG, Dec 6 (TNA) -- Twenty persons were sent to hospital for treatment in the eastern resort of Rayong Sunday afternoon for treatment after inhaled a butane chemical substance accidentally leaked near the sprawling Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.

Sunday’s incident marked the second recent accident after 18 workers were sent to the same hospital Saturday for inhaled gas during a leakage incident with five of them still in critical condition.

The 20 workers were hospitalised after butane leaked while being transported from a factory to the Map Ta Phut port.

No one has shown responsibility for either accident so far.

The incidents took place while members of a four-party panel chaired by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun visited residents in Map Ta Phut municipality for the first time on Saturday to gain first hand information on industrial pollution in the area.

In November, the government appointed a panel to resolve problems prevailing in the area after the Administrative Court temporarily suspended 76 industrial projects in September.

To date, the court has allowed only 11 of a total 76 projects to continue their operations while 65 will remain shuttered until a full court hearing takes place and resolves the matter.

Tasked with accelerating the government’s overall response and balanced assessment as an independent body under Article 67 of the Constitution, the committee will be established to ensure that each project conducts an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a health impact assessment (HIA), the panel members will stay in the province until Monday. The independent body will be set up later.