Mercury rising: Why a Thai community believes it is being poisoned across the international border

NAN, Thailand: On clear mornings, at dawn, Ms Kanchanaporn Paeng-ud stands on a hillcrest where her family processes tapioca and looks out beyond the sweeping valleys across to neighbouring country Laos.

On the horizon, some 20 km away, she can see what resembles billowing columns of smoke that rise high into the sky. For five months of the year, those man-made clouds dissolve into tiny particles and are carried by the wind into her home country, Thailand.

The source of the emissions is the Hongsa Mine Mouth Power Project, a coal-fired power plant that began energy production in 2015 in Laos’ Xayaboury province.

Since then, villagers in the hills of Nan, a rural northeastern province on the Thai border with Laos, attest to strange things happening to their home and their health. 

Keep reading

Jack Board