Over 2500 villagers, from 12 villages in Pyartaung area, Kyaikmaraw Township, Mon State, staged a protest on Saturday [Feb. 18], within the paddy fields of Kawpanaw Village, voicing opposition against the coal power-supplied electricity by Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL).
The protesters want MCL to stop its coal-powered electricity supply aimed at powering its cement factory operation in Pyartuang area, Kyaikmaraw Township.
“At first, they said they would produce cement and we agreed. However, now they use coal to power the factory, we cannot accept that. This is dangerous for us. Therefore, we, the villagers, decided to stage this protest,“ said Nai Mit, a leader of the protesting group.
The protesters urged MCL to stop using coal power due to concerns that it might cause damage to the local environment, to protect the public’s livelihood, property and health, and to avoid causing damage to the local water sources.
“If the locals believe they know about the negative impacts from our factory’s coal power, they are always welcome to visit the factory and see how we operate with zero negative impacts. We welcome the locals to our factory anytime,” said U Zaw Lwin Oo, executive official of the MCL factory.
The protesters shouted out slogans including, “No Coal Power Plant”, “Zero damage to our natural environment is our cause”, “No dynamite”, “Zero damage to ancient heritage is our cause” and “To save the river source is our cause”.
To run its factory, the company needed 49 megawatt of electricity. Of this, 40 megawatts are from applying coal power [and bio waste], while 9 megawatts come from Waste Heat Generator (WHG). The company has planned to produce 5,000 tons of cement per day, and during its test run, from September 2016 to January 20, 2017, it has produced about 300,000 tons of cements, according to the officials from the company.