AMITIAE - Sunday 19 July 2015
Cassandra: Photographic Show at BACC - Effects of Mae Moh Lignite Mining on Health
By Graham K. Rogers
During a second trip a few years later the Electricity Generating Authority personnel (EGAT) were at pains to point out how the air was cleaner and indicators in the control room showed figures that appeared even lower than figures for Bangkok's polluted streets.
Outside a major park within the grounds of the power station had been extensively cleaned up and in the distance there was considerable evidence of land-reclamation. But still the lignite was being mined somewhere in the area, and being transported to the power stations by massive conveyors where it was turned into energy.
The images round the walls of floors 4 and 5 of the Center show the human effects of the mining. In the UK and other countries where coal is mined, black lung and other pulmonary diseases occur, but there are usually health-care systems to look after the victims. In Lampang, of the thousands of villagers effected, only a few treated have their symptoms blamed on the mining of lignite, and of those only around 150 have been compensated.
The stark monochrome portraits of some of those who live in the area are shown to remind city-dwellers of some of the costs of their air-conditioned houses and malls.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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