A number of schools in the Salaya district of Thailand’s Nakhon Pathom province were abruptly closed this morning (Thursday) and all students sent home after chemicals leaked from a plastic yarn factory.
People living within a few kilometres of the plant, belonging to Indorama Polyester Industries, were also advised stay home, wear their face masks and to close all windows and doors, as the Pollution Control Department (PCD) dispatched officials to investigate the gas leak and to control the situation.
A netizen posted on Facebook this morning saying that the smell from the gas leak was so strong that it caused pain in his nose.
The international demonstration school at Mahidol University in the district issued suspended all classes today, adding that parents will be notified if there is any change in the situation.
An official from the PCD told Thai PBS that, due to cloudy skies and poor air circulation, the strong smell from the gas has spread over a large area.
He also said that officials are trying to identify the specific chemicals released into the environment.
A representative of the company was quoted as saying that the strong smell was caused by the leak of heat transfer fluid (DT1), which began at about 6am this morning, but the problem has now been fixed.
Attapol Charoenchansa, director-general of the PCD says that chemical leaks this morning had actually come from two incidents, not one as originally reported.
One was caused by a fire at NSP Textiles in Sam Phran district and the other was the leak at Indorama Polyester Industries in Nakhon Chai Si district.
He said that about 30 litres of biphenyl and diphenyl oxide, which are in the aromatic benzine chemical group, had leaked from the NSP textile plant, adding that the two chemicals are very light, so they can be carried far from the plant on the breeze.