Residents of Thai province cry foul over plans for waste plant

Residents of Pathum Thani province are trying to fight off a plan to construct a garbage power plant in their hometown by sending a petition to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha.

It remains unclear, though, what will happen when the petition hits the desk of the prime minister, |who is known to be enthusiastic about such power plants.

"We will fight to the end," the leader of the protest, acting Sub Lt Taweesak Inkwang, said yesterday.

Residents of Moo 4, Tambon Chiang Rak Yai, Sam Khok district, where the plant is to be built, fear the facility will have an adverse long-term effect on their lives and those of their children.

Taweesak said the locals held a meeting and resolved to submit a petition to Prayut.

The prime minister, however, recently pledged his full support for the building of garbage power plants in all provinces.

"Every province must have a waste-treatment plant and it's a great idea if such facilities are developed as waste-to-energy facilities," he said. He explained that because of human generated waste, such plants must exist anyway.

Prayut even warned residents there was no point in staging rallies against the plants.

Available records show Pathum Thani residents generated 1,826 tonnes of garbage each day in 2013.

Last month, the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between a local authority and a private firm to develop the garbage power plant in Pathum Thani took place amid a rally from local people.

Construction 'not approved'

Pathum Thani's industry chief, Ruangsak Kosakanchit, yesterday said although the MoU had already been signed, his office had not yet granted approval for the construction of the garbage power plant.

"Before we give the green light, we will have to consult the public first," he said. He added that during the public consultation forum that the private firm at the centre of the plan would provide information on the pros and cons of such facilities.

"If local people still oppose the plan then, we will have to explore available options," Ruangsak said.

Tambon Chiang Rak Yai Administrative Organisation's chairman, Sawek Prasertsuk, said the plan was in line with the policy of the National Council for Peace and Order, which was also headed by Prayut.

"We have already checked out a similar facility in Japan and found that it does not pollute the local environment," he said.

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