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Locals Hold Protest in Ye Town in Opposition of Proposed Coal-Fired Power Project

Reported by: > More than 400 locals joined the Ye Social Society (YSS) group in protest against the Toyo Thai Group’s proposed coal-fired power plant, which is to be constructed near Aunden Village, Ye Township, Mon State. Protesters gathered in Ye Town on the morning of December 14th to protest the proposed project.

The protesters marched through Ye Town shouting slogans, in both Mon and Burmese languages, calling for “No coal-fired power in Aunden”; “Stop the coal-fired power project now”; “We do not want Toyo Thai Company”; and “We do not want coal-fired power in our area”. Protesters also carried signs, which stated, “We strongly object to coal-fired power project in Aunden”, and “To preserve our environment, let’s protest against the coal-fired plant”.

YSS members led local Aunden residents, activists, and local members of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society in protest who, as they marched, wore T-shirts that said “No Coal”, as well as traditional Mon dress. About twenty police officers were stationed along the protest area in Ye Town [to provide security].

As the protest was being held in Ye Town, ten individuals, including [State] Hluttaw, local, and media representatives, were sent by Toyo Thai Co. to observe and study coal-fired power plants in Japan and Thailand.

“We have opposed this project since it was planned,” said YSS Secretary Ko Aung Naing Win, “We [the YSS] already vowed that we would protest strongly against this project, [un]till it is stopped.”

Ko Aung Naing Win stated that Sunday’s protest was only allowed participation of 400 locals. According to Ko Aung Naing Win, the YSS had submitted a request to the Ye Township police on December 5th for permission for 500 people to join the protest, but the police limited its permission to 400 individuals.

“In our Ye Township area, mainly we have [the] fishing [industry], and on land we have rubber plantations, betel nut, and lime orchards. So, when this coal-fired plant [is] constructed it will pollute the water, killing fish and sea plants, while also producing ash that will spread all over the rubber trees, and damage the rubber leaves. When there are no leaves, the rubber trees will not be able to produce rubber saps. I joined this protest as I know about these negative impacts,” said Ko Aye Htun, a local villager from Asin Village, Ye Township.

According to pamphlets distributed by the YSS, ashes emitted from the coal-fired plant could damage rubber and betel trees, as well as other seasonal fruit trees, severely reducing their harvests.

The pamphlets also stated that the Toyo-Thai coal-fired power plant project will have the capacity of producing 1,280 Megawatts of electricity, by using 12,000 tons of coal. To keep the plant cold, it will need 210,000 liters of water, which will then need to be heated to ten degrees Centigrade above the original water temperature, in order to be dumped into the sea.

According to Toyo Thai Group Co. Ltd, the company signed a contract with Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power on March 23, 2013 to construct a coal-fired plant in Ye Township’s Aunden area, with an output potential of 1,280 Megawatts of power. The Toyo Thai Group is planning to invest 2.7 billion USD in the project.

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