Recycling project on hold due to protests
CHIANG RAI: A project to construct a waste-to-energy plant in Muang district was suspended on Monday due to mounting protests by locals concerned about possible pollution from the planned facility.
Somkit Ketnakin, chief of the district office, ordered the suspension of the project at a meeting between Thanakit Fakkaeo, 53, a protest leader, and executives of the tambon Huay Sak municipality that owns the power plant project.
The matter will be raised with the Chiang Rai provincial governor, who will decide the future of the project, Mr Somkit said.
While these parties were attending the meeting inside the district office building, about 60 protesters gathered outside, holding placards to denounce the plant.
Satisfied by the project's suspension, the protesters dispersed and switched to carrying out a public campaign to educate other villagers about the effects of such a recycling plant on their community.
The meeting on Monday was called to resolve a conflict between the project owner and its opponents.
On Saturday, villagers rallied against the idea, with a number of residents signing a petition against the proposed power plant construction.
Mr Thanakit told Monday's meeting a preliminary public hearing had been carried out and found many villagers were concerned that the project would adversely impact eight villages around its site.
They were worried about air pollution, water contamination and damage to local roads caused by large trucks transporting waste to the plant, he said.
The tambon Huay Sak municipality representatives, meanwhile, said the project was necessary as the existing landfill site in the district could no longer handle the overwhelming amount of waste it gets.
The 10-megawatt waste-to-energy plant was planned to be constructed one kilometre from Dong Pa Miang village and 2km from Rong Phiew village.