ROI ET – Last Monday, the mayor of Subdistrict Municipality Dongsing agreed to meet the demands of protesters opposing a controversial waste incinerator project in the area. Accusing the municipality of rigging the results of a public hearing in December last year, the local group demanded to repeat the event.
Holding up hand-written protest signs, about 100 local residents gathered outside the subdistrict municipality’s office early Monday morning. The group claimed Mayor Prichat Phimphu had failed in his duty to facilitate public participation and municipality officials were acting in the interest of an investor.
“We don’t want this waste incinerator to be built close to our homes,” says Sangwian Bunwiset, a leader of the group. The construction of incinerators in three other Roi Et communities had caused severe air pollution, dust emissions, and noise, she added.
In January last year, The Isaan Record reported about local complaints in Ubon Ratchathani that a nearby waste incinerator had been sending thick clouds of smoke and dust wafting through a village.
Bunsom Sitthisan, another leader of the Dongsing protest group, said that the municipality had organized public hearings in several villages in December. But officials merely handed out pamphlets about the project and paid 300 baht to anyone who provided their names and identification card numbers, he said.
The group demanded that the municipality return the list of names recorded during the hearings and respond to their suspicion that officials were acting as cronies of an investor. They further called for on the municipality to stop its support of the waste incinerator project.
Facing the protest, Mayor Prichat agreed to meet the protesters. He assured them the municipality would organize another round of public hearings within the week and consider stopping the incinerator project.
Reporting by Mana Nueatho, a participant of The Isaan Journalism Network Project 2017 organized by The Isaan Record.