Published: Tuesday 15 September 1998

Threatened by air pollution from the Mae Moh lignite-fired power plant, the people of Ban Hua Fai in Thailand are fast losing patience. Hundreds of villagers suffering from respiratory problems now vow to push for relocation, which has been delayed for almost two years. The villagers accuse the Electri-city Generating Authority of Thailand (S-GAT), which built the power plant, of going back on its promise to relocate the villagers.

On May 17 last year, EGAT promised it would relocate more than 500 families affected by sulphur dioxide and dust emissions from its power plant. The problem remains, even though the lignite-fired plant has been equipped with sulphur dioxide filtering devices. So far, there has been no progress in the relocation plan. Continuous exposure to toxic gas has weakened the people's respiratory systems. Since January this year, about 18 villagers have died of respiratory problems allegedly caused by the exposure to sulphur dioxide. But no concrete action has been taken to resolve the long-standing issue.

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