More than four thousand local residents signed their names to a petition opposing a coal-fired power plant project led by Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) in the Pyar Taung area of Kyaikmayaw Township, Mon State.
Local people living near the MCL cement factory penned their signatures at awareness-raising talks organized at Nee Don village on February 29 and near Kaw Don and Kaw Panaw villages on March 1, according to event organizer Mi Sandar Non. She added that the list of signatures will be sent to respective government officials.
The talks and signature campaign were led by local Mon monks who advocated for residents around Pyar Taung to sign in opposition to the coal-fired plant, including in nearby Mon villages of Pauk Htaw, Kon Ngan, Kaw Wan and Ah Laik. Campaign outreach is also reportedly planned for predominantly ethnic Karen and Bamar villages.
“Locals do not accept the coal-fired plant. They will oppose the project until it is cancelled. The company did not inform the locals about using the coal-fired plant. They played a trick on the locals. The monks also do not accept this [project]. The monks themselves invited experts and organized talks for locals to know [about potential negative impacts of the coal-fired plant],” said Mi Sandar Non.
Experts at the talks included Dr. Khin Maung Nyo, Chemistry expert, U Sein Myint former deputy director of Ministry of Mines, and Dr. Devi Thant Cin, a well-known environmentalist and coordinator of Myanmar Green Network.
MCL has stated it will need 49 mega watts of power to run its cement factory and intends to produce 40 mega watts from the coal-fired plant and bio waste, and the rest from a Waste Heat Generator (WHG).
“At the moment, they are using boats to carry coal from the mouth of Kyaikkami [River] in order to burn about 500,000 tons of coal per year,” said Mi Sandar Non.
The Mon National Party (MNP) also released a statement opposing the plant, citing urgency because MCL would begin generating coal-fired power by the middle of this year.
MCL did hold a public consultation near the cement factory, in cooperation with Resource and Environment Myanmar, to explain to residents their regional sustainable development plan in the second week of February.