23 May 2024

The premier has ordered the setting up of an ad hoc committee, comprising the authorities concerned to handle the problem of cadmium slag which is believed to be scattered across several provinces.

The committee will comprise representatives from ministries of Industry, Interior, Public Health and Natural Resources and Environment ministries as well as police and the Department of Special Investigation.

About 13,000 tonnes of the material, previously buried in a landfill in Tak province, had been recovered and illegally sent to Samut Sakhon, among other provinces, reportedly to be smelted down.

Most of it has now been recovered from warehouses in Samut Sakhon and Chon Buri provinces, leaving some 4,000 tonnes still unaccounted for.

The prime minister wants the committee to work to recover the remaining 4,000 tonnes and have all of it sent back to its original location in Tak province for proper disposal.

More than 8,000 tonnes of cadmium slag have, so far, been recovered and impounded at warehouses in Samut Sakhon and Chon Buri provinces.

Police from the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Division searched a factory in an industrial estate in Kabin Buri district of Prachin Buri, but found only about 500 tonnes of zinc slag.

According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, most of the cadmium produced today is obtained from zinc byproducts and recovered from spent nickel-cadmium batteries and is extremely hazardous to human health.