Authorities shuttered an ice factory in Meanchey district yesterday following repeated offences that led to leaks of ammonia gas, which can cause serious health issues if inhaled.
The factory, named Ouk Navy after its owner, first leaked the gas in November 2016, leading to its temporary closure as authorities remedied the situation.
The leak again happened on Monday in Chak Agre Leu commune, where authorities used 10 trucks of water to regain control of the poisonous outflow.
The repeated offences led deputy governor of Meanchey district Dy Rothkhemarun to heed a directive from new Phnom Penh governor Khoung Sreng to shut down the factory permanently.
“The owner of the ice factory escaped,” said Mr Rothkhemarun. “But if she appears one day, she will face of legal action. The expert officials found this factory was not controlling their gas safety procedures properly, leading to panic amongst neighbouring villagers.”
Da Vy, 34, a mother of two children who attend school nearby the factory in Prek Takong 1 village, said she is glad the factory has finally been shuttered.
“There are a lot of schoolchildren studying near the factory,” she said. “I was always worried about their health because they are so small.”
Over-exposure to ammonia gas can lead to lung diseases, chronic coughs and asthma, as well as eye irritation.
Taing Ny, 28, another villager living near the factory, said she hopes the shutdown will not be temporary like it was in 2016.
“We hope that the authorities have shut down this factory forever,” she said. “It happened last year and they allowed it to reopen; I don’t want to see that happen again. We are afraid for our health in the future.”
Im Chan Thy, a district security guard, said he has been ordered to keep an eye on the factory to make sure the owner does not return and attempt to resume production.