Heavy metal tragedy still playing out at Klity Creek
Karen villagers along the lead-contaminated waterway were recently awarded a cash settlement, but it can't wash away the environmental irresponsibility that has left one community member blinded and others sick and in fear for their unborn children
Ma Aung Seng's bamboo thatched-roof home has no running water, and the 50-year-old blind Karen woman has no money to buy bottled water as she can no longer work her rice fields. So when she needs water she normally asks her 16-year-old son to walk down to Klity Creek and fetch some to use for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
DRINK AND BE WARY: Klity Lang villagers still use the water in the creek although they fear it remains contaminated with lead.
But as the entire nation now knows, the water in Klity Creek has long been severely contaminated with high levels of lead, originally discharged from a factory operated by the Lead Concentrate Company. The company was ordered to close in 1998 and on Jan 10 this year the Supreme Administrative Court ordered the Pollution Control Department to pay nearly four million baht in compensation to 22 Karen villagers, ending a nine-year legal battle.
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