Enhancing Public Participation In Air Pollution Management From Coal-fired Power Plant Projects In Thailand
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Air pollution is recognized as one of the most serious environmental problems in Thailand. One of the main sources of air pollution is coal-fired power plants. Either during the construction period or the operation period, the local communities surrounding the power plant are directly affected by air pollutants. This leads to conflicts among stakeholders. Accordingly, conflict over a power plant project is a significant problem in Thailand and needs to be solved immediately. To solve the problem, the participation in the planning and decision-making process of the power plant projects should be carried out in a proper manner. This study aimed at trying to close the gap between regulators and civil communities with respect to public participation in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). A case study approach was selected for this study. Environmental laws and regulations relating to public participation practice in Thailand were reviewed and analyzed. The study revealed that current attempts at public participation in environmental planning and development in Thailand have not been effectively established. The Thai government’s approach to handling environmental conflicts under Thai laws and mechanisms was topdown management and obviously ineffective. The Thai people demand greater participation in the decision-making processes concerning highly controversial issues of development activities, in particular the controlling of air pollution from power plants. They recognize that public participation should play a substantial role in environmental development projects and EIA. Keywords: public participation, air pollution, EIA, coal-fired power plant, conflict.
public participation, air pollution, EIA, coal-fired power plant,conflict