Bangkok locals threaten to burn plant

Nov. 7, 2000
Opponents of the Klong Dan central water treatment plant have threatened to burn down the facility if the government keeps pushing the project through.

Nov. 4, 2000 (Bangkok Post)—Opponents of the Klong Dan central water treatment plant have threatened to burn down the facility if the government keeps pushing the project through. Senators Jermsak Pinthong and Kraisak Choonhavan during an inspection of the site of the proposed Klong Dan waste water treatment plant in Samut Prakan.

Chalao Thimthong, a leading opponent, told a delegation of senators who attended a local forum on the project that resistance would turn violent unless construction was halted.

Chalao said more than 60,000 local people did not want the facility because it would damage their farmland and fisheries.

The project was approved without any environmental and social impact assessments, he said. Furthermore, there was reason to believe the process of buying land for the plant was less than transparent, he said.

Water discharged into the sea would damage aquaculture, said Chalao. Even if the discharge is purified, it would dilute salinity and kill marine life.

Far greater damage would be caused if the discharge was tainted with chemicals. Chalao said excessive nitrogen and phosphorus would disrupt the food chain by making seaweed thrive. The excessive growth of seaweed would contribute to over-consumption of oxygen in water, threatening marine life. Local people had already made clear they were not interested in any form of compensation for loss of livelihood, he said. They simply wanted the project terminated. Chalao said local people did not want to take drastic action to protect their livelihood and locality. "But if called for, the new measure would be to burn the treatment facility down," he said.

Senator Jermsak Pinthong told the forum he would put a stop to the project if he had the power. His announcement drew thunderous applause from the locals.

Senate Speaker Sanit Vorapanya said it was beyond the authority of the upper house to scrap the project but pledged to find an urgent solution to the problem.

Senator Charoon Yangprapakorn, who represents Samut Prakan, said the government had made no attempt to keep local people informed of the project. When local people found out for themselves and mounted their opposition campaign, the government ignored them. Reluctance on the part of the authorities to spell out the need for the project made it all the more questionable, he added.

To see more of the Post Publishing Plc, or to subscribe, go to http://www.BangkokPost.net

Copyright 2000 Post Publishing Plc. All Rights Reserved.