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Thai community leaders accuse ADB of environmental crime

By Staff
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Hyderabad, May 3 (UNI) At the Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) today, village leaders from three communities devastated by ADB-financed coal plants presented the Bank President with a bowl of coal, in a symbolic indictment of the ADB's continued funding of climate change through dirty coal power plants.

The three leaders were speaking at a civil society meeting with Bank President, Haruhiko Kuroda. Greenpeace highlighted these three leaders representing communities particularly affected by the bank's dirty energy funding.

Mr Narudon Suchartphong (55), Mr.Charoen Detkhum (63) and Mr Sutti Atchasai (29) are representing the communities of villagers around the infamous coal plants BLCP and Mae Moh, which are directly responsible for mass respiratory illnesses, destruction of livelihoods in the community and displacement of countless villagers.

''The financing of the Mae Moh coal mine and the BLCP coal plant by the ADB is an environmental crime,'' said Mr Charoen Detkhum of the Mae Moh villagers' community. 'The ADB should immediately withdraw finance for the BLCP coal plant project and all future construction should be halted until a full environmental audit is conducted, he added.

The community leaders also submitted to ADB President a letter detailing their demands. These include repatriation of some of the most affected villages to locations at least five km away from the mine as stated in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the provision of doctors trained in occupational health and tasked with investigating causes of the respiratory illnesses of the villagers and the provision of treatment and compensation for villagers' ill health and medical expenses. The community representatives have also asked that the ADB withdraw funding from the proposed expansion of the lignite mine at Mae Moh and the BLCP coal plant.

'This meeting is a step on the way to bridging the gap between those who harm and those who suffer,' Greenpeace South-East Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Tara Buakamsri said.

UNI DB VV HS VC1655

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