SEZs under scrutiny

Of the long list of challenges inherited by the new government when it took office in April, among the most expensive and ambitious are the special economic zones planned for Yangon and on each side of the country, on the Indian Ocean.

Conceived when Myanmar was still under military rule, the three multi-million-dollar SEZs – at Thilawa in Yangon Region, Dawei in Tanintharyi Region and Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State – have faced accusations of land grabbing and a disregard for transparency.

Xayaburi Dam opponents appeal against Administrative Court ruling

Residents affected by the Xayaburi Dam living in eight provinces along the Mekong River appealed to the Administrative Court Monday against five Thai government agencies that backed the building of the dam.

The appeal called for the court to reverse its previous verdict by making the five defendants - the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the National Energy Policy Council, the Energy Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Cabinet - to adhere to relevant laws.

Mekong nations to set up EIA working group

In the statement released today, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts of regional infrastructure projects, particularly as the upcoming Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) Economic Community further hastens trans-boundary investments.

Villagers near gold mine seek police help

"We demand that police bring the perpetrators to justice," the residents said in a statement.

The villagers, calling themselves the Love Homeland Group, said in the statement that the firm, which has been in the area since 2006, had its mining operation suspended due to its adverse impact on the environment and the potentially fatal health hazard it posed to villagers.

Since the firm entered the area, villagers have also been pitted against one another, and have even taken their dispute to court, the statement said.

Impact assessment process has glaring flaws

An impromptu street drama took place last Sunday in front of Wat Phon Thong in tambon Na Pong of Loei's Muang district. The temple was the venue of a public hearing to consider an application to expand...

It was a strange scene. A 600-strong police force surrounded the temple and blocked its gate, keeping a group of villagers from entering what was supposed to be a public event.

The event may have escaped media attention, were it not for the drama in the heavy rain.

Thailand: PCD needs time to restore affected villages

PCD's measures to rehabilitate the cadmium-affected villages would cost Bt438 million.

Its appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court follows a decision by the Phitsanulok Administra-tive Court last month ordering the National Environmental Board (NEB) and PCD to declare the Mae Tao River Basin as an environmentally protected area within 90 days.

PCD director-general, Wichien Jungrungruang, said his department could not work within this period to designate the cadmium-affected villages as environmentally protected zones because many procedures were required for the zone designation.

Thailand to collect fees to tackle illegal waste

The Industrial Works Department is planning to collect fees from waste treatment business operators to deal with illegal waste dumping.

Seri Atipatha, deputy department chief, said the fees to be collected from the waste treatment operators will be used to set up a fund to pay for the cost in handling and treating illegally-dumped hazardous waste.

A regulation is being drawn up to facilitate the formation of the fund, which has become necessary due to rises in the illegal practice, particularly in areas close to residential communities.