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Home > Main Library > Environment (being reorganised and extended) > The environment of Burma/Myanmar > Human activity in the environment of Burma/Myanmar > Threats to the environment of Burma/Myanmar
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Threats to the environment of Burma/Myanmar

  • Deforestation
    See the separate Forests section (in preparation) and the sub-section on Deforestation below

    Individual Documents

    Title: China plundering natural resources in Burma
    Date of publication: 07 July 2010
    Description/subject: China was variously described as plunderer and arch destroyer of Burma’s natural resources on the 38th World Environment Day today, by local people and environmental activists.Mindless logging and rampant mining in northern Burma by China for over two decades has led to widespread deforestation, pollution of rivers and land with Mercury used in gold mining. There is now varied ecological dysfunction that the country has to contend with. 060510-timber
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin News Group (KNG)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


    Title: Rainforests Facing a New Challenge
    Description/subject: Logging is back in Kachin State under a new mask. Logging no longer will be the illegal business in one of the world's biggest green regions that houses most of the teaks left on earth. Logging this time has returned into the region with bigger ambition and the safer shield under the title of agro-forestry development projects. For decades, deforestation in Kachin State was traditionally carried out by agricultural farming industry of the local people and Asia's one of the longest civil wars in the nation. High speed massive illegal logging was introduced to the region only by logging companies from neighbouring Yunnan Province only after China's economy started roaring in 1990s. And it remarkably escalated in 1998 when China banned logging in its nation after facing serious floods in their home land. Forests in northern Burma were dwindling quickly in early 2000 and Kachin State became a hottest target for all the international watchdogs. But, finally, loggers have found a new and safest way to continue their business with a higher speed.
    Author/creator: Phyusin Linn
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: UNPO
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 22 September 2010


  • Hydropower projects
    See also the Dams sub-section under Water

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Dams and other hydropower projects (OBL sub-section in the "Water" section)
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: OnlineBurma/Myanmar Library
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 26 January 2013


    Individual Documents

    Title: China Moves to Dam the Nu, Ignoring Seismic, Ecological, and Social Risks
    Date of publication: 25 January 2013
    Description/subject: "In a blueprint for the energy sector in 2011-15, China’s State Council on Wednesday lifted an eightyear ban on five megadams for the largely free-flowing Nu River [Salween], ignoring concerns about geologic risks, global biodiversity, resettlement, and impacts on downstream communities. “China’s plans to go ahead with dams on the Nu, as well as similar projects on the Upper Yangtze and Mekong, shows a complete disregard of well-documented seismic hazards, ecological and social risks” stated Katy Yan, China Program Coordinator for the environmental organization International Rivers. Also included in the plan is the controversial Xiaonanhai Dam on the Upper Yangtze. A total of 13 dams was first proposed for the Nu River (also known as the Salween) in 2003, but Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao suspended these plans in 2004 in a stunning decision. Since then, Huadian Corporation has continued to explore five dams – Songta (4200 MW), Maji (4200 MW), Yabiluo (1800 MW), Liuku (180 MW), and Saige (1000 MW) – and has successfully lobbied the State Council to include them in the 12th Five Year Plan..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Rivers
    Format/size: pdf (71K)
    Date of entry/update: 26 January 2013


    Title: High and Dry
    Date of publication: June 2010
    Description/subject: A fierce heat wave combined with a drought to create serious water shortages in many parts of Burma in May... "Temperatures in Rangoon, Pegu and Irrawaddy divisions and in central Burma and Arakan State reached three-decade record highs of up to 45 degrees Celsius, according to official reports. The excessive heat dried up ponds in many villages, leading to a shortage of water for drinking and sanitation. Many communities in need received emergency water supplies from volunteer workers—and the government..."
    Author/creator: Myat Moe Maung
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 6
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 29 August 2010


  • Metal mining and other extractive operations

    Individual Documents

    Title: China plundering natural resources in Burma
    Date of publication: 07 July 2010
    Description/subject: China was variously described as plunderer and arch destroyer of Burma’s natural resources on the 38th World Environment Day today, by local people and environmental activists.Mindless logging and rampant mining in northern Burma by China for over two decades has led to widespread deforestation, pollution of rivers and land with Mercury used in gold mining. There is now varied ecological dysfunction that the country has to contend with. 060510-timber
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin News Group (KNG)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


    Title: Environmental governance of mining in Burma
    Date of publication: January 2007
    Description/subject: Conclusion -- local participation and respected insiders: If there is one certainty of fair and effective local participation in environmental governance, it is that there is no universal monolithic system of rules, regulations and processes simply awaiting implementation and practice. Just as disparate copper-mining operations can differ vastly, so too do local potentialities for environmental governance participation (Medowcroft 2004; and, for a contrasting account, Leone and Giannini 2005). There are, however, two consistent features of effective local participation in environmental governance: it must involve local people and have, to some degree, cooperation and support from relevant institutions and stakeholders. That is, it’s a multi-stakeholder affair, and moreover one that presupposes the recognition of the right to organise. Environmental conflict resolution is a tool for recourse and ‘for building common purpose’ between stakeholders (O’Leary et al. 2004:324). Scholars note the importance of understanding the many varieties of environmental conflict resolution interventions ‘as complex systems embedded in even larger complex systems’ (O’Leary et al. 2004:324). In other words, the wider spatial, temporal, economic, social, cultural and political contexts of the specific environmental conflict resolution are relevant for building common purpose between stakeholders. In Burma, conflict resolution is undertaken quite differently from dominant Western models. EarthRights International conducted research for five years on traditional methods of conflict resolution and its relationship to resource-based conflict at the local level in Burma. That research resulted in Traditions of Conflict Resolution in Burma (Leone and Giannini 2005), which argues that conflict resolution in Burma is based more on interpersonal respect and a tradition of local ‘respected insiders’ than on assumptions of the objectivity of ‘third-party outsiders’. Whereas official administrative and court-based proceedings provide a level of comfort and trust to the Western sensibility, these are the very institutions and processes that might cause local villagers in Burma to feel uncomfortable and distrustful. The report contends that ‘the prospects for peace and earth rights protection’ hinge on this respected insider model, adding that such respected insider ‘practices may serve as models for communitybased natural resource management’ (Leone and Giannini 2005:1–2). Effective local participation in environmental governance in Burma will necessarily involve a unique tradition-based paradigm developed by local Burmese themselves. While third-party outsiders are less likely to gain genuine traction in communities in Burma, this is not meant to undermine the need for objective third-party EIAs and environmental monitoring at largescale mining operations such as Monywa. Rather, it simply indicates the unique needs that must be considered for fair and effective local participation in environmental governance of mining in Burma. While administrative and judicial proceedings can make the average Burmese villager uncomfortable, the same cannot be said for the rule of law and justice (which are largely absent in Burma), which will be accepted wholly by the average Burmese, particularly by those whose human rights have been violated. As Tun Myint (2003) has suggested, the successes and failures of environmental governance are determined largely by how natural resources are used and managed at the local level. This chapter approached a genuine inquiry into the state of environmental governance of mining in Burma motivated by a genuine concern for the natural environment and the people of Burma who depend on it. It interpreted current environmental governance of mining natural resources in Burma as largely inadequate, weak and ostensibly favourable to corporate interests over the public interest and the natural environment. Burma’s economic, social, cultural, political and environmental future depends on changing this.
    Author/creator: Matthew Smith
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
    Format/size: pdf (144K)
    Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008


    Title: Spaces of extraction -- Governance along the riverine networks of Nyaunglebin District
    Date of publication: January 2007
    Description/subject: "Contemporary maps prepared by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) place most of Nyaunglebin District in eastern Pegu Division. Maps drawn by the Karen National Union (KNU), however, place much of the same region within the western edge of Kaw Thoo Lei, its term for the ‘free state’ the organisation has struggled since 1948 to create. Not surprisingly, the district’s three townships have different names and overlapping geographic boundaries and administrative structures, particularly in remote regions of the district where the SPDC and the KNU continue to exercise some control. These competing efforts to assert control over the same space are symptomatic of a broader concern that is the focus here, namely: how do conflict zones become places that can be governed? What strategies and techniques are used to produce authority and what do they reveal about existing forms of governance in Burma? In considering these questions, this chapter explores the emergence of governable spaces in Shwegyin Township, which comprises the southern third of Nyaunglebin District (Figure 11.1)..."
    Author/creator: Ken MacLean
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
    Format/size: pdf (357K)
    Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008


    Title: Grave Diggers: A report on Mining in Burma
    Date of publication: 14 February 2000
    Description/subject: A report on mining in Burma. The problems mining is bringing to the Burmese people, and the multinational companies involved in it. Includes an analysis of the SLORC 1994 Mining Law.... 'Grave Diggers, authored by world renowned mining environmental activist Roger Moody, was the first major review of mining in Burma since the country's military regime opened the door to foreign mining investment in 1994. Singled out for special attention in this report is the stake taken up by Canadian mining promoter Robert Friedland, whose Ivanhoe Mines has redeveloped a major copper mine in the Monywa area in joint venture enterprise with Burma's military regime. There are several useful appendices with first hand reports from mining sites throughout the country. A series of maps shows the location of the exploration concessions taken up almost exclusively by foreign companies in the rounds of bidding that took place in the nineties.
    Author/creator: Roger Moody
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Various groups
    Format/size: pdf (1.4MB) html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.miningwatch.ca/en/grave-diggers-report-mining-burma
    http://www.miningwatch.ca/sites/miningwatch.ca/files/Grave_Diggers.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 09 September 2010


  • Militarisation

    Individual Documents

    Title: Diversity Degraded - Vulnerability of Cultural and Natural Diversity in Northern Karen State, Burma
    Date of publication: December 2005
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In traditional Karen society, knowledge and culture are closely linked to the natural environment. This report examines the effects of the longstanding civil war on Karen communities' cultural and natural environment with specific focus on the diversity of cultivated and collected plant species. The information for this case study is based on a survey done in an ethnic Karen village in Mu Traw District, Northern Karen State, Burma. The case study provides a general overview of the community with a detailed look at the local knowledge-based farming systems. The traditional Karen rotational farming system is described in detail including selection of land and crops to be cultivated, the seasonal calendar, techniques of seed conservation and planting, together with spiritual beliefs that are connected to the agricultural practices. The report also outlines the importance of non timber forest products (NTFP) in food security and in women's traditional work. The results of this case study clearly shows that the civil war, which has been raging for almost sixty years between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Karen National Union (KNU), is the primary reason for the loss of both traditional culture and biodiversity in Karen State. The fighting has caused tremendous human rights abuses imposed by the Burmese military regime who have adapted the strategy of targeting civilians in order to gain control over the ethnic insurgents. The local people have been relocated or forced to live as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the forest, far from their former villages and farmlands. This has resulted in massive population influxes into formerly uninhabited forest areas and has thereby led to the loss and degradation of forests and biological diversity. Relocation into areas less suitable for farming and the unsettled life of IDPs caught in conflict areas have disrupted the traditional agricultural practices. As a result, the food security of local Karen communities is threatened because many traditional seed varieties and wild edible plant species have been lost. The culture of Karen society also suffers because of its close connections and relationships to the environment and agricultural practices. Many aspects of Karen culture and local knowledge have already been lost."
    Language: English, Karen
    Source/publisher: Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
    Format/size: pdf (2.6MB-OBL version-English; 6.38 - Karen)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.kesan.asia/index.php/publication-and-media/reports/finish/4-reports/31-diversity-degrade...
    Date of entry/update: 19 November 2009


    Title: Adrift in Troubled Times -- Recent Accounts of Human Rights Abuse in the Shan State (Burma)
    Date of publication: June 1987
    Description/subject: Introduction, interviews, maps and photos, including of crops sprayed with the defoliant 2,4-D (an Agent Orange ingredient) supplied to the Burmese military by the US Government.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Project Maje
    Format/size: pdf (1.30MB)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Multiple threats

    Individual Documents

    Title: The Threat to Burma’s Environment
    Date of publication: 17 September 2010
    Description/subject: More than 20 mega-dams are being constructed or planned on Burma’s major rivers, including the Salween and Irrawaddy, by multinationals without consulting local communities, a wide range of NGOs charged in a statement Friday. In addition, the group charged, mining, oil and gas projects are creating severe environmental and social problems. Several papers are to be delivered on Sept. 18 in an all-day seminar in Bangkok on the impact and consequences of overseas investment in large-scale projects in Burma that say as many as 30 companies from China alone are investing in dam projects on the two rivers.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asia Sentinel
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=129&Itemid=125
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


    Title: China plundering natural resources in Burma
    Date of publication: 07 July 2010
    Description/subject: China was variously described as plunderer and arch destroyer of Burma’s natural resources on the 38th World Environment Day today, by local people and environmental activists.Mindless logging and rampant mining in northern Burma by China for over two decades has led to widespread deforestation, pollution of rivers and land with Mercury used in gold mining. There is now varied ecological dysfunction that the country has to contend with. 060510-timber
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin News Group (KNG)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


    Title: Kachin state, waiting for an ecological disaster
    Date of publication: 31 December 2008
    Description/subject: Kachin State in northern Burma is sitting on a powder keg of an ecological disaster. From impending dam related devastation to the rape of the environment in terms of incalculable damage to the flora and fauna has rendered the state extremely vulnerable. Rampant felling of trees and the wanton killing of myriad wildlife for filthy lucre for export to China has led to a serious situation which is far from being addressed.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin News
    Format/size: html, pdf (252.26 KB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.kachinnews.com/commentary/689-kachin-state-waiting-for-an-ecological-disaster-commentary...
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010


    Title: Identifying conservation issues in Kachin State
    Date of publication: January 2007
    Description/subject: Conclusion: "Kachin State is rich in natural resources. Its location near resourcehungry China and its rule by people in need of hard currency has resulted in the unsustainable exploitation of its natural resources. In addition, the complex governance system makes management of these resources difficult. This research has attempted to reflect the situation of the many voiceless people in Kachin State. A pragmatic approach is required to work together with all stakeholders. An opportunity should be opened for the active participation of local stakeholders in managing their resources not only for current but future generations. Regardless of the country’s political situation, international assistance for conservation in Myanmar is needed urgently. Such aid is required not for the support of undemocratic practices, but to help the people of Myanmar, who deserve to manage their environment through the country’s democratisation process."
    Author/creator: Tint Lwin Thaung
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: 2006 Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
    Format/size: pdf (117K)
    Alternate URLs: http://epress.anu.edu.au/myanmar/pdf/whole_book.pdf
    http://epress.anu.edu.au/myanmar/pdf_instructions.html
    Date of entry/update: 31 December 2008


    Title: Smash & Grab: Conflict, Corruption and Human Rights Abuses in the Shrimp Farming Industry
    Date of publication: June 2003
    Description/subject: "...Shrimp farming has led to serious conflict over land rights and access to natural resources. Resulting social problems include increased poverty, landlessness, and reduced food security. In Ecuador, a single hectare of mangrove forest has been shown to provide food and livelihood for ten families, while a prawn farm of 110 hectares employs just six people during preparation and a further five during harvest. Globally, tens of thousands of rural poor in developing countries have been displaced following the impact of shrimp farming on traditional livelihoods. For instance, 20 thousand fisher-folk in Sri Lanka's Puttalam District migrated following declines of fish catches following the advent of shrimp farming. Wealth generated by exporting farmed shrimp rarely trickles down to the communities affected by the industry. Corruption, poor governance and greed have resulted in powerful individuals making vast sums of money from shrimp farming with little regard for the basic human rights of the poor communities living in shrimp farming areas. "It is another example of resource-use conflict in which the poor and vulnerable are suppressed by a powerful elite intent on making quick profits, whilst turning a blind eye to the abuses that result" said Dr Mike Shanahan of EJF..." Examples from Burma
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Environmental Justice Foundation
    Format/size: pdf (2399K)
    Date of entry/update: 23 June 2003


    Title: Breaking the Silence
    Date of publication: 15 March 2002
    Description/subject: Paper submitted to the forty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women March 4-15, 2002 by Women's League of Burma (WLB). "...The aim of this paper is to highlight some of the root causes of poverty and environmental degradation in Burma, and show how this has affected women and to give examples of how women are organizing themselves to survive and create an enabling environment for political and social change, and for gender equality..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma (WLB)
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.asiasource.org/asip/breaking.cfm
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Paradise Lost?
    Date of publication: September 1994
    Description/subject: Environment and Freedom of Expression in Burma. In the past decade, there has been a growing international consensus over the fundamental relationship between the universal values of "human rights", "environmental rights" and "development rights". "The Myanmar Tourism Policy is based on preservation of cultural heritage, protection of natural environment, regional development and generation of foreign exchange earnings."
    Author/creator: Martin Smith
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Article 19
    Format/size: pdf (174K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: The Biodiversity Hotspots - Indo-Burma pages
    Description/subject: Encompassing more than 2 million km² of tropical Asia, Indo-Burma is still revealing its biological treasures. Six large mammal species have been discovered in the last 12 years: the large-antlered muntjac, the Annamite muntjac, the grey-shanked douc, the Annamite striped rabbit, the leaf deer, and the saola. This hotspot also holds remarkable endemism in freshwater turtle species, most of which are threatened with extinction, due to over-harvesting and extensive habitat loss. Bird life in Indo-Burma is also incredibly diverse, holding almost 1,300 different bird species, including the threatened white-eared night-heron, the grey-crowned crocias, and the orange-necked partridge.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Conversation International
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 22 September 2010


  • Oil and gas pipelines

    Individual Documents

    Title: Pipeline Nightmare (English and Burmese)
    Date of publication: 07 November 2012
    Description/subject: "Shwe Pipeline Brings Land Confiscation, Militarization and Human Rights Violations to the Ta’ang People. The Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) released a report today called “Pipeline Nightmare” that illustrates how the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, which will transport oil and gas across Burma to China, has resulted in the confiscation of people’s lands, forced labor, and increased military presence along the pipeline, affecting thousands of people. Moreover, the report documents cases in 6 target cities and 51 villages of human rights violations committed by the Burmese Army, police and people’s militia, who take responsibility for security of the pipeline. The government has deployed additional soldiers and extended 26 military camps in order to increase pressure on the ethnic armed groups and to provide security for the pipeline project and its Chinese workers. Along the pipeline, there is fighting on a daily basis between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army, Shan State Army – North and Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Namtu, Mantong and Namkham, where there are over one thousand Ta’ang (Palaung) refugees. “Even though the international community believes that the government has implemented political reforms, it doesn’t mean those reforms have reached ethnic areas, especially not where there is increased militarization along the Shwe Pipeline, increased fighting between the Burmese Army and ethnic armed groups, and negative consequences for the people living in these areas,” said Mai Amm Ngeal, a member of TSYO. The China National Petroleum Corporation and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise have signed agreements for the Shwe Pipeline, however the companies have not conducted any Environmental Impact Assessments or Social Impact Assessments. While the people living along the pipeline bear the brunt of the effects, the government will earn an estimated USD$29 billion over the next 30 years. “The government and companies involved must be held accountable for the project and its effects on the local people, such as increasing military presence and Chinese workers along the pipeline, both of which cause insecurity for the local communities and especially women. The project has no benefit for the public, so it must be postponed,” said Lway Phoo Reang, Joint Secretary (1) of TSYO. TSYO urges the government to postpone the Shwe Gas and Oil Pipeline project, to withdraw the military from Shan State, reach a ceasefire with all ethnic armed groups in the state, and address the root causes of the armed conflict by engaging in political dialogue."
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Ta’ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO)
    Format/size: pdf (English, 2MB-OBL version; 6.77-original; 1.45-Burmese-OBL version)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/Pipeline%20Nightmare%20report%20in%20English%20version%20(Final).pdf (original)
    http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/Pipeline_Nightmare-bu-op--red.pdf (full report in Burmese)
    http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/Immediate%20Release%207%20N... (Summary in Burmese)
    http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/For%20Immediate%20Release%2... (Summary in Thai)
    http://www.palaungland.org/wp-content/uploads/Report/S%20P%20N%20Report/2012-11%20Shwe%20Pipeline%2... (Summary in Chinese)
    Date of entry/update: 07 November 2012


    Title: Total Denial Continues - Earth rights abuses along the Yadana and Yetagun pipelines in Burma
    Date of publication: May 2000
    Description/subject: "Three Western oil companies -- Total, Premier and Unocal -- bent on exploiting natural gas , entered partnerships with the brutal Burmese military regime. Since the early 1990's, a terrible drama has been unfolding in Burma. Three western oil companies -- Total, Premier, and Unocal -- entered into partnerships with the brutal Burmese miltary regime to build the Yadana and Yetagun natural gas pipelines. The regime created a highly militarized pipelinecorridor in what had previously been a relatively peaceful area, resulting in violent suppression of dissent, environmental destruction, forced labor and portering, forced relocations, torture, rape, and summary executions. EarthRights International co-founder Ka Hsaw Wa and a team of field staff traveled on both sides of the Thai-Burmese border in the Tenasserim region to document the conditions in the pipeline corridor. In the nearly four years since the release of "Total Denial" (1996), the violence and forced labor in the pipeline region have continued unabated. This report builds on the evidence in "Total Denial" and brings to light several new facets of the tragedy in the Tenasserim region. Keywords:, human rights, environment, forced relocation, internal displacement, foreign investment. ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Earthrights International
    Format/size: pdf (6MB - OBL ... 20MB - original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.earthrights.org/files/Reports/TotalDenialCont-2ndEdition.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Total Denial - A Report on the Yadana Pipeline Project in Burma
    Date of publication: 10 July 1996
    Description/subject: "'Total Denial' catalogues the systematic human rights abuses and environmental degradation perpetrated by SLORC as the regime seeks to consolidate its power base in the gas pipeline region. Further, the report shows that investment in projects such as the Yadana pipeline not only gives tacit approval and support to the repressive SLORC junta but also exacerbates the grave human rights and environmental problems in Burma.... The research indicates that gross human rights violations, including summary executions, torture, forced labor and forced relocations, have occurred as a result of natural gas development projects funded by European and North American corporations. In addition to condemning transnational corporate complicity with the SLORC regime, the report also presents the perspectives of those most directly impacted by the foreign investment who for too long have silently endured the abuses meted out by SLORC for the benefit of its foreign corporate partners." ...Additional keywords: environment, human rights violations.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: EarthRights International (ERI) and Southeast Asian Information Network (SAIN)
    Format/size: pdf (310K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Pollution (various sources)

    Individual Documents

    Title: Poisoned Waters
    Date of publication: September 2007
    Description/subject: "Chemical pollution and silt are killing Burma’s beautiful Inle Lake... Inle Lake, one of the country’s major tourist attractions, is terminally ill and its fishermen have fallen on bad times. The lake’s surface is shrinking dramatically. As its surface inexorably drops, the pollution of its water rises. The fish are dying and entire species are threatened with extinction..."
    Author/creator: Kyi Wai
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=8466
    Date of entry/update: 29 April 2008


    Title: Valley of Darkness - gold mining and militarization in Burma's Hugawng valley
    Date of publication: 09 January 2007
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The remote and environmentally rich Hugawng valley in Burma's northern Kachin State has been internationally recognized as one of the world's hotspots of biodiversity. Indeed, the military junta ruling Burma, together with the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society, is establishing the world's largest tiger reserve in the valley. However, the conditions of the people living there have not received attention. This report by local researchers reveals the untold story of how the junta's militarization and self-serving expansion of the gold mining industry have devastated communities and ravaged the valley's forests and waterways. The Hugawng valley was largely untouched by Burma's military regime until the mid-1990s. After a ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the junta in 1994, local residents had high hopes that peace would foster economic development and improved living conditions. However, under the junta's increased control, the rich resources of Hugawng valley have turned out to be a curse. Despite the ceasefire, the junta has expanded its military infrastructure throughout Kachin State, increasing its presence from 26 battalions in 1994 to 41 in 2006. This expansion has been mirrored in Hugawng valley, where the number of military outposts has doubled; in the main town of Danai, public and private buildings have been seized and one third of the surrounding farmland confiscated. Some of the land and buildings were used to house military units, while others were sold to business interests for military profit. In order to expand and ensure its control over gold mining revenues, the regime offered up 18% of the entire Kachin State for mining concessions in 2002. This transformed gold mining from independent gold panning to a large-scale mechanized industry controlled by the concession holders. In Hugawng valley concessions were sold to 8 selected companies and the number of main gold mining sites increased from 14 in 1994 to 31 sites in 2006. The number of active hydraulic and pit mines had exploded to approximately 100 by the end of 2006. The regime's Ministry of Mines collects signing fees for the concessions as well as 35% - 50% tax on annual profits. Additional payments are rendered to the military's top commander for the region, various township and local authorities as well as the Minister of Mines personally. The junta has announced occasional bans on gold mining in Kachin State but as this report shows, these bans are temporary and selective, in effect used to maintain the junta's grip on mining revenues. While the regime, called the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC, has consolidated political and financial control of the valley, it has not enforced its own existing (and very limited) environmental and health regulations on gold mining operations. This lack of regulation has resulted in deforestation, the destruction of river banks, and altering of river flows. Miners have been severely injured or killed by unsafe working practices and the lack of adequate health services. The environmental and health effects of mercury contamination have yet to be monitored and analyzed. The most dramatic effects of this gold mining boom, however, have been on the social conditions of the local people. The influx of transient populations, together with harsh working conditions, a lack of education opportunities and poverty have led to the expansion of the drug, sex, and gambling industries in Hugawng valley. In one mining area it was estimated that 80% of inhabitants are addicted to opium and approximately 30% of miners use heroin and methamphetamines. Intravenous drug use and the sex industry have increased the spread of HIV/AIDS. Far from alleviating these social ills, local SPDC authorities collect fees from these illicit industries and even diminish efforts to curb them. The SPDC continually boasts about how the people of Kachin State are benefiting from its border area development program. The case of Hugawng valley illustrates, however, the fundamental lack of local benefit from or participation in the development process. The SPDC is pursuing its interests of military expansion and revenue generation at the expense of social and environmental sustainability This report documents local people speaking out about this destructive and unsustainable development. Such bravery should be encouraged and supported.".......The main URL for this document in OBL leaqds to a 1.5MB version, obtained by passing the original through ocr software. The original and uthoritative version can be found as an alternate link in this entry.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG)
    Format/size: pdf (3.77MB - original and authoritative; 1.5MB - ocr version)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.eldis.org/assets/Docs/24720.html
    Date of entry/update: 09 September 2010


    Title: At What Price? Gold Mining in Kachin State, Burma
    Date of publication: November 2004
    Description/subject: Contents:-ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; MAP; EXECUTIVE SUMMARY; INTRODUCTION & METHODOLOGY;; BACKGROUND; UNEARTHING BURMA; ENVIRONMENT AND MINING LAWS; THE LAND OF THE KACHIN; GEOGRAPHY & BIODIVERSITY; HISTORY; GOLD IN THE KACHIN HILLS; CONCESSION POLICY; ROLE OF THE KIO; FOREIGN INVESTORS; CHINA; GOING FOR KACHIN GOLD: MINING TECHNIQUES; PLACER MINING; PANNING; BUCKET DREDGES; SUCTION DREDGES; HYDRAULIC MINING; GOLD ORE; OPEN-CAST MINES; SHAFT MINES; CHEMICALS IN THE MINING PROCESS; DANGER: MERCURY; ALTERNATIVES TO MERCURY; CYANIDE LEACHING; CASE STUDIES OF MINING AREAS IN KACHIN STATE; HUKAWNG; MALI HKA; N’MAI HKA; HPAKANT; GOLD AND THE ENVIRONMENT3; AFTER THE GOLD RUSH: TAILINGS AND ACID MINE DRAINAGE; LAND REHABILITATION; THE RIVER ECOSYSTEM; GOLD AND ITS SOCIAL IMPACT; SEEKING WORK, SEEKING GOLD; ENDANGERING MINERS; MINING AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS; RECOMMENDATIONS... APPENDICES: IVANHOE MINES LTD.; EXAMPLES OF MERCURY AND METHYLMERCURY POISONING; CASES OF CYANIDE POLLUTION; AGREEMENT BETWEEN MYITKYINA TPDC AND NORTHERN STAR MINERALS TRADING AND PRODUCTION CO.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Images Asia Environment Desk, Pan Kachin Development Society
    Format/size: pdf (3.4MB) 66 pages
    Date of entry/update: 21 December 2004


    Title: CURRENT STATUS OF PESTICIDES RESIDUE ANALYSIS OF FOOD IN RELATION WITH FOOD SAFETY
    Date of publication: 30 January 2002
    Description/subject: FAO/WHO Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators Marrakech, Morocco, 28 - 30 January 2002 "Being a developing agricultural country at least in a foreseeable future, Myanmar is inevitable the use of pesticides in agriculture food production although other parallel efforts of non-chemical nature are being endeavoured in pest control strategies. Although there is a low pesticide consumption rate in Mayanmar, the present data indicates the urgent need of a cautious control in the use through coordination and cooperation of various government agencies and the people themselves. In addition, agricultural pesticides use in the country is expected to be increased with the abrupt change of cropping pattern for high rice production and extension of various crops grown areas. The use of agro-chemical on food crops is estimated about 80% of the total. At that time the use of organo-chlorine insecticides (oc's) is decreasing but the percentage of those pesticides is total (about 10%) is still high. The use of pyrethroids is increasing..."
    Author/creator: Mya Thwin, Thet Thet Mar
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: FAO, WHO
    Format/size: html,pdf (27.14 KB)
    Alternate URLs: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/004/ab429e.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003