ISSN 2330-717X

Burma: Pipeline, Rubber Plantation Responsible For Pollution


By Nang Mya Nadi

The construction of a gas pipeline connecting western Burma’s Arakan state and southern China’s Yunnan province has disrupted a local river and destroyed farmland.

A local resident in Namtu’s Saigao village in northern Shan state said a Chinese company that is building the pipeline is rerouting the Namtu River. The resident said the company is also dumping excess soil on locals’ gardens and fields.

“This is really damaging to us – we have to depend on this land for our survival throughout the year and they are bulldozing the river’s bank and forests along with it, which could potentially lead to flooding and landslides during the rainy season,” said the villager from Saigao township.

He said about four acres of his land has been destroyed by the project.

Four residents from Saigao rented out their land to the company for six months for 2.4 million kyat; however, they claim they were unaware that the company would destroy their farmland.

The villagers filed a complaint to local authorities and petitioned the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, but have yet to get a response. The People’s Parliament representative Nang Kham Aye in the town said the party has forwarded the villages’ complaint letter to the Minister of Transportation.

She said about 400 acres of land in total has been damaged in the area by the construction of the pipeline.

The Shwe pipeline project is the centrepiece of China’s booming investment programme for Burma, particularly following Naypyidaw’s decision to scrap the Myitsone Dam, a move that triggered anger and bewilderment in Beijing. The pipeline will account for around six percent of China’s total energy needs, much of which will be focused on Yunnan, whose development has lagged behind the rest of the country.

Further south in Tenasserim division’s Kawthuang township a rubber plantation is said to responsible for polluting a waterfall on the Maliwan River.

The 7000-acre rubber plantation managed by the TZK company has been accused of dumping waste, insecticide and fertilisers into the river.

“[The waterfall] is a popular recreation spot in Kawthaung – people used to go there for [events] such as the Thingyan celebrations and this year it has become impossible to use,” said a local resident in Maliwan village with around 70 households located at the foot of the waterfall.

The company is conducting a survey to address the problem.

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Democratic Voice of Burma

The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) is a non-profit Burmese media organization committed to responsible journalism.

One thought on “Burma: Pipeline, Rubber Plantation Responsible For Pollution

  • April 22, 2012 at 7:19 am

    It may have been fun thus far.

    Now the real irreversible destruction is in ernest and people are daily killed and maimed in Kachin Land with imminent further extensive and intensive destruction in the name of “integration” with the Asian economy – code word for open sesame for irresponsible environmental and social destruction of Burma’ s unique millennia old systems, people should shake off the collective delusion of NLD and their only thinker Aung San Suu Kyi will do something so wonderful and start asking pertinent questions as a matter of urgency.

    And people should also start canvassing the wishes and desire of people in the villages and act accordingly. Should it be joy of being service to the Chinese like Than Shwe and most advisors and commentators feel , well and good.

    But in case people want to preserve the currently standing environment and the social system, it is already late to put forward their views.

    If people keep dreaming on and wait for NLD, wonderful as they are, to sort out all the apparently important side issues, none of the mentioned wise people will get back the destroyed land and forests and resurrect the dead Kachins and young Burmese recruits.

    Contrary to all knowing NLD’s joyous disposition, the country is in dire strait. Again people are dying every day unnecessarily and the large scale irreversible destruction is imminent.


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