Villagers upset over waste-energy plant

Construction News

PRACHIN BURI – Residents of a village renowned for its bamboo furniture staged a protest over construction of a waste-to-power plant in their community, and then walked out during a meeting with company representatives, on Wednesday.


Protesting villagers of Sai-ngam village in Prachin Buri, numbering 150, stage a walkout from a meeting at their village hall to protest the planned construction of a waste power plant in their community. ( Photo by Manit Sanubboon)

bout 150 people from Sai-ngam village in tambon Phorngam, Prachantakham district, some carrying cloth banners opposing the project, converged on the village hall about 5pm on Wednesday.

Local authorities earlier invited Sermsap Paisarn Group 1999 Co, builder of the waste power plant, and local residents to a meeting in which the firm would explain the pros and cons of the waste-to-energy plant.

Local police and soldiers were also deployed to maintain peace and order in the area.

As executives of the firm were about to explain the project, most of the villagers walked out of the hall, leaving fewer than 10 people there and resulting in the cancellation of the meeting.

The residents of this well-known bamboo furniture-making village argue that the waste-to-energy plant would cause pollution in their community and be a health hazard.

Thanaphat Yoddee, of Phorngam tambon municipality, said the council had signed a contract with the firm on Oct 21 this year to dispose of 600 tonnes of garbage a day. The contract was signed by municipality mayor Banthoeng Panyadee.

The firm had told municipality executives it would take them on a study tour to Nakhon Sawan, where a waste-to-power facility was being built. However, there was no study tour as promised. Instead, the contractor held a religious rite at a 60-rai area of public land earmarked for the project.

Many residents were upset after learning the waste-to-energy plant would be built in their community. They said approval was given without their consent. There was also no public hearing to gauge the views from people in the 19 villages in this tambon.

Sa-ard Wai-ngan, president of Phorngam tambon municipality council, said it was a pity the people staged a protest and then walked out. He saw the project as being useful as it was environmentally friendly and could dispose of at least 600 tonnes of garbage a day.