On 17 October 2013 Anti-coal network of Khao Hinsorn Sub-District, Phanom Sarakham District, Chachoengsao Province again defeated a 600-MW coal plant proposal after failing to get approval for the second deliberation of the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) as submitted by the National Power Supply Company – subsidiary of one of the biggest pulp and paper industry in Thailand “Double A”.
So another delay, another step closer to ending the age of coal in Thailand.
Hundreds of villagers – Anti Coal Community – from Chachoengsao rallied at a state environmental agency, demanding that the government not give the go-ahead for a coal-power plant as they believe it would affect their health, and their mango orchards badly. The villagers gathered at the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and handed over a petition with more than 6,000 signatures opposing the project to ONEP’s deputy secretary-general Noppadol Thiyajai. These signatures were collected via a campaign by Change.org.
The move come after the ONEP environmental expert panel met for a second time to deliberate on the environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA) report of the 600-megawatt coal power plant in Chachoengsao’s Phanom Sarakham district, which is known for its mangoes.
The EHIA report was first deliberated upon in July 2012 and this second round on 17 October 2013 was to be the final one. But at the end, the ONEP environmental expert panel disapproved Double A’s EHIA report and requested the company to resubmit it when possible.
In 2008, it was announced that a 600 Megawatt coal-fired power plant project would be constructed in Khao Hinsorn area. The villagers expressed various concerns and held defenses demonstrations to protect their right for living in a healthy environment. They protested, blocked the roads, submitted documents to many agencies and eventually petitioned to the King.
A 600 Megawatt coal-fired power plant project at Khao Hinsorn is defined as a project or activity which may have a severe health impact on a community then the project has to conduct an Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) as stated in Section 67 Paragraph 2 of The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (2007). National Power Supply (Public) Company Limited has hired a consultant group, Air Safe Company Limited, in conjunction with professors from various universities to conduct the EHIA.
The pollution caused by the coal plant may have a negative effect on community health determinants including air, noise and water quality, as well as, economic and social disturbances for the surrounding community. These negative impacts could be particularly harmful to the under privileged groups especially the poor, who depend on the Thalad canal as a natural source of food.
On October 4, 2010, the group mainly consist of farmers from various agricultural networks, such as: Chachoengsao Alternative Agriculture Network, Organic Farming of Sanam Chai Khet, Agroforestry Network, Save Bangkla, Mango Gardeners and Straw Mushroom Farmers. submitted documents to the Secretary – General of National Health Commission (NHC) to request that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) under Section 11 of the National Health Act B.E.2550 (2007) be conducted. The HIA which study by the community will be called “Community HIA or CHIA”.
The two-year long CHIA study that provided critical information to Power Plants Licensing agencies has been one of the key indicator to defeat a flawed EHIA process under ONEP. The CHIA study provided information of food production potential and information regarding proper development of health future community.
(1) Community Health Impact Assessment A Case of Coal Generator at Khao Hinsorn sub-district Phanom Sarakham district, Chachoengsao province, Thailand. National Health Commission Office of Thailand, National Health Building 88/39 Moo 4 Talat Khwan sub-district, Mueang district, Nonthaburi province Tel. 0-2832-9000 Website: http://www.nationalhealth.or.th and http://www.thia.in.th