Community rights clause not fooling anyone

The right of citizens and communities to protect the environment against harmful development projects is now back in the draft constitution, thanks to fierce pressure by civil society nationwide. So people can relax now, right? Not a chance.

Face it. The military regime is in it for the long haul. Their diktats are the ultimate rules of the land. The community rights clause in the draft will be of no help because it has also been heavily diluted, turning active citizens and communities into state vassals.

A complete waste

When the Samart Corporation partnered in a lucrative deal to dispose of waste at Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006, questions were raised as to why a telecommunications company was awarded the contract. The 600 million baht agreement with the Airports of Thailand (AoT) called for the construction of two incinerators to handle all waste generated at the country's biggest airport.

Licence extension linked to gold mine ‘to be based on scientific data

A team from four ministries yesterday visited Chatree gold mine in Phichit to inspect the mine and get information from both opponents and supporters of the gold mine.

The officials were led by Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsat-ayadorn, Science Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj, and Pollution Control Department chief Wijarn Simachaya, who represented the Natural Resource and Environment Minister.

Potash mine opponents make a stand at hearing

Udon Thani residents Blow whistles during threehour forum, vow to fight in court if project gets go ahead

HUNDREDS of local people blew whistles to show their opposition to a potash-mining project throughout a public hearing yesterday.

The hearing took place at a school in Udon Thani's Muang district to gather opinions from people who will be affected by the planned potash mine.

Given that this project has drawn stiff opposition from locals for more than one decade, 1,200 police and 400 soldiers were mobilised to ensure the forum was able to go ahead.

Klity villagers fight never-ending battle

Justice delayed is justice denied. This legal maxim hit the victims of the Klity creek lead poisoning tragedy hard on Tuesday.

Ethnic Karen forest dweller Kamthorn Srisuwanmala, 47, and other victims of the lead poisoning at Klity Lang, Kanchanaburi, arrived at the provincial court with high hopes. They left with heavy hearts.

The Supreme Court was scheduled to issue the final verdict in their court case against Lead Concentrates (Thailand), the mining company which released toxic waste water into their creek for decades, resulting in numerous deaths, illnesses and disabilities.

Final ruling on Klity Creek compensation case delayed

A final ruling in a 119-million-baht lawsuit against a lead-separation company for poisoning a natural water source in Kanchanaburi 13 years ago was postponed on Tuesday after the provincial court found a defendant had yet to pay a court fee.

The suit, filed by eight Karen villagers, named Lead Concentrate (Thailand) Co as first defendant and its owner, Kongsak Kleebbua, as second defendant.

Villagers resigned to enduring sickness caused by a lead contaminated creek

Claiming lack of help from the authorities, the residents of Lower Klity Village in Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum District say they have no choice but to endure chronic sickness.

The cause is lead poisoning and they blame a nearby contaminated creek to be the source of their troubles.

Here, the village people say, is where the problems start:

It was another hot afternoon in Lower Klity Village. Wichai Nasuankanok - a 15-year-old boy who identified himself as nine years old - rushed down to the Klity Creek and jumped into the clear cool water.

Neighbouring countries to get devices to check air-quality

THAILAND HAS installed devices for air-quality checks in Laos, and will make similar installations in Myanmar and Cambodia in a bid to fight the threat of smog.

Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Wijarn Simachaya disclosed yesterday that the installation in Vientiane had already been completed.

"Next year, we will install similar devices in the two other neighbouring countries," he said.

Time to stop poisoning our precious land, resources

All that glitters is not gold. This old saying can aptly apply to Thailand's gold mining industry or, for that matter, the mining industry in general.

The history of mining in Thailand is full of riches for a few, suffering for many and devastation for the natural environment.

In the late 1980s, more than 1,000 people in Ron Phibun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat were found to have suffered from arsenic contamination. Years of tin mining had contaminated the surface and underground water in the area for decades.

Opinion: Travelling at light speed

PHUKET: Phuket’s light rail system will be the first of its kind outside of the Greater Bangkok area.

During construction, there will certainly be some bottlenecks as far as traffic is concerned. However, we have already prepared plans to lessen or avoid potential traffic congestion as much as we can.

Some people are concerned about rumors that we will be using existing lanes to build the light rail, causing more traffic than necessary. However, there are no lane closures proposed at all.