Kawthaung News

News from Kawthaung

The next morning we took a speedboat from Kawthaung to the islands. This is all we have to explore Myanmar's southernmost city, Kawthaung. The Kawthaung is a township in southern Myanmar at the tip of the peninsula.

Kohlekraftwerk Kawthaung, Tanintharyi, Myanmar

Kawthaung, a rather small (8 MW) generating station, was one of the first two coal-fired plants to come on stream in Myanmar. Situated in the Kawthaung Vesicleship at the most southern point of Myanmar, it lies in a coastline with picturesque sandy areas and an island complex of more than 800 islets.

The majority of Kawthaung's inhabitants are smallholders and fishermen, and the coastline is also home to Myanmar's "sea gypsies". From the outset, the evolution of the coal-fired station near housing areas has caused protest and resistance[1]. The Than Phyo Thu Mining Company was awarded the permit to build the station in January 2010 after a deal was signed with the Ministry of Electricity[2,3].

Rumours were circulating that the facility was moved from Prachuap Khiri Khan in Thailand to Kawthaung, where earlier demonstrations brought the site to a standstill a few years before[2,4]. Inhabitants said in March 2012 that about 95% of the projects had been completed[1]. The first test run was concluded in August 2012 and put into service in October 2012[3].

Carbon is delivered from the Bokpyin Township near -by mine and bottled from Pachan River, which is situated near the Thai border[1]. Nonetheless, residents' fears about people' well-being, subsistence and impact on the environment prevailed over the advantages promised[2]. Newspaper reports report that the station is only 50 ft (about 15m) from neighborhoods and about 450 yards away from a potable spring[1].

Worries about the contamination of groundwater resources and public safety issues caused by atmospheric contamination have been raised not only by local people but also by inhabitants of the neighbouring city of Ranong in Thailand[1,4]. Environmentists remained concerned about CO2 and sulfur oxide discharges, which can lead to heavy rains, an increase in particulate matter and related airway illnesses, and raised concern about other contaminants such as CO, M and A which have an impact on potable waters, human beings and the environment[1, see also 5].

Since its foundation, there have been countless mobilisations against the station. During 2010, members of the Democratic Party (Myanmar), who played a leadership part in the protest, held a meeting with the company's CEO to address their grievances. There followed several further encounters between the firm and the inhabitants, but their requests were not given due consideration[1].

The inhabitants launched information and education programmes and also sent a note to then President Thein Sein expressing their concerns[1,2]. Due to a lack of appropriate answers, the village inhabitants began protests[2]. In spite of the reservations of local inhabitants, the facility was put into operation on 5 October 2012, which led to further protest against the coal-fired generating plant[2].

It is said that after the system was put into operation, the village inhabitants suffered from airway illnesses and dermatological illness. As the head of the institution fired that the installation caused the public safety issues, the leader of the protests said that they were looking into the cases[7]. A number of panels were organised by civic groups calling on the authorities to give up carbon schemes for reasons of public safety and the environment, as well as for reasons of climate change[9].

422 civic organizations in December 2016 issued a declaration calling on the federal authorities to give up both hydro and coal-fired energy projects because of their conflict-prone and polluting nature[8]. Instead, groups call for an increasing use of cleaner and renewables such as photovoltaic energy.

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