BANGKOK– Amid growing concerns over waste-to-energy projects located near residential areas across the country, the Administrative Court dismissed an appeal made by the Nong Khai Nam community in Saraburi province against such a power plant.
On 8 March, the Administrative Court in Bangkok rejected accusations made by the community against the local municipality for failing to involve them in the decision-making process.
Located in the Saraburi province, a two-hour drive from Bangkok, Nong Khai Nam community is close to the Nong Khae industrial park and several other industrial zones. In 2020, the community was first made aware of a new 9.5 megawatts power plant to be built in a residential area next to houses and dormitories.
Previously, the construction of thermal power plants was not allowed in the community. However, the local municipality made an exemption by introducing a new local provision in 2020. Consequently, 52 locals took the issue to court in the following year, accusing the local authorities of ignoring residents’ concerns.
The court has ruled that the local permit does not violate the law and is aligned with the national effort to reduce waste. This was an initiative ordered by the military government in 2016, who issued several special orders to reform the country.
Despite the ruling, the Nong Khai Nam community plans to continue appealing and suing the waste-to-energy company. Although construction of the plant has yet to begin, the court’s decision has left other communities worried.
Meanwhile, residents in Bangkok’s On Nut subdistrict demand the shutdown of a major waste-to-energy plant. Surrounding communities have been struggling with a strong odour since the plant’s operation began in 2020.
Thailand plans to generate 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2037, with a contribution from waste-to-energy projects. The government intends to construct more than 79 such plants in the years ahead, according to the Ministry of Energy and the Pollution Control Department.
Report by Nicha Wachpanich