Thai community leader tells ANZ: “Quit coal and save my community”

Feature story - October 25, 2005
Sydney, Tuesday, October 25, 2005 Greenpeace this morning joined with Thai community leader, Charoen Detkhum, to protest against ANZ’s financial backing of coal developments in Australia and Thailand that are contributing to community displacement, pollution and climate change.

Charoen Detkhum (left), community leader of Map Ta Phut, Kittikhun Kittiaram (right), Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.. Greenpeace confronts the ANZ bank over it's financing of a new coal-fired power station called Map Ta Phut in Thailand.

Charoen Detkhum (left), community leader of Map Ta Phut, Kittikhun Kittiaram (right), Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Greenpeace confronts the ANZ bank over it's financing of a new coal-fired power station called Map Ta Phut in Thailand.

Greenpeace confronts the ANZ bank over it's financing of a new coal-fired power station called Map Ta Phut in Thailand.

Charoen, a fruit and vegetable farmer and elected community representative, has been fighting against polluting developments forced on his community for decades. The latest challenge is a 1400MW coal fired power station planned for the Map Ta Phut industrial estate, land which was compulsorily acquired from his community 25 years ago.

ANZ is providing US$40 million for the Map Ta Phut power plant, which will consume about 4 million tonnes of coal from Australia and Indonesia every year, emitting 8 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution in the process.

Charoen, speaking via an interpreter, said "The construction of this power plant is already polluting our water, eroding our coast and affecting our fisheries. It is having a severe impact on the health and livelihood of my people. ANZ should not be using Australian money to lock my country into this polluting power system."

Charoen has met with executives from other major financiers of the project - the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation - to demand that they withdraw their loan to BLCP - the owner of the power plant. Both institutions redirected the responsibility to BLCP. Charoen has now brought his campaign to  Australia, demanding that ANZ withdraw its support from the project.

Greenpeace clean energy campaigner Ben Pearson said "The recent commodities boom has blinded us to the reality that short-term coal profits jeopardise Australia's economy, health and environment. Every tonne of coal we export comes back to us as climate change, making Australia a hotter, drier and poorer place in the future."

"Instead of financing climate change, ANZ should quit coal and put money into clean, renewable energy sources that will help provide the power that Thailand needs without hurting their environment and communities."

Charoen Detkhum and Greenpeace representatives will be outside the ANZ bank in Martin Place this morning from 8 am.

Contact

Communications officer Tim Hollo on 0411 032 375

A briefing paper on Charoen Detkhum, ANZ and Map Ta Phut is available

on request

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