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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        16  February 2011

People want an environmental role

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Networks of Thai people suffering from the environmental effects of mining activities are calling on the Thai government to amend its policies to make projects more open to public input.

Lersak Kumkongsak, a coordinator for the Campaign of Public Policy on Mineral Resources of Thailand, said regulations on mining activities ignored their impact on nearby people.

"It is clear that [pollution] problems are caused by the government's policy," Mr. Lersak said yesterday.

"It is our duty to make a change to protect our basic right to live in a good environment. "We will use all channels to send our message to the government."

Mr Lersak said he would submit a letter to the National Reform Committee headed by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun and the National Reform Assembly led by Prawase Wasi to ask that they include controls on mining-related activities in their national reform agenda.

The 18 networks gathered in Bangkok yesterday and released a statement demanding the government provides fair treatment to residents suffering from the effects of mining activities such as gold mining in Phitsanulok, the coal power plant in Lampang and potash mining in Udon Thani. Arom Kamjing, a leader of an environment protection network in Phitsanulok, said the local population had long endured pollution caused by gold mining. Their complaints to relevant agencies had received no response. The networks demanded that the government pay proper compensation to those affected by mining activities, especially in the case of the lead contamination of Klity Creek in Kanchanaburi, gold mining in Phichit, Phetchabun and Phitsanulok, and the Mae Moh power plant in Lampang.

They also called on the government to list all mining activities as harmful. Only potash and coal mining are now listed as harmful activities requiring health and environment impact assessments before they can proceed.

The networks also asked that the government abolish salt mining in the Northeast. They also asked that the government disseminate information on mining concessions among people who would be affected.

They called for harsher punishment for polluters and the drafting of a national plan on mineral resources development.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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