In a speech to parliament on Sept 11, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin outlined policies, action plans and commitments that his government will take over the next four years for the “benefit happiness of all Thai people”.

Without disclosing much about what it will do to reach that point, the new government’s policies do acknowledge the link between a clean and healthy environment and people’s well-being and quality of life.

Mr Srettha promises to take care of the environment and pledged to give weight to public participation, especially on projects that affect natural resources, the environment and quality of life. Yet events in the following days serve as warning that government’s promises can be hollow.

On Sept 13, as the cabinet held its first meeting, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) signed a deal with China Datang Overseas Investment Co and Gulf Energy Development PCL on the Pak Beng hydro-dam project, to be built on the Mekong River. Read more.