Environment


One of the resolutions which came out of the three-day Mon National Conference has been to stand against the use of a coal power plant by a cement company in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township.

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China has extended an offer to assist Myanmar with a large-scale project to prevent natural disasters, says the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

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Shan community groups are calling for the suspension of a Chinese-backed dam on the Salween River that they say risks exacerbating conflict and environmental problems in northern Shan State.

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Two dozen Shan community groups have sent a letter to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi calling on her government to stop the construction of hydroelectric dam projects on the Thanlwin or Salween River.

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Activists are prepared to resume protests against the Myitsone mega-dam development in Kachin State, amid concerns that Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China could result in the revival of the suspended project.

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Nearly 30 Shan civil society organisations (CSOs) sent an open letter to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday urging her to suspend six dam projects along the Salween River.

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The Chindwin River in Upper Burma is contaminated with a significantly high level of heavy metals, making its water unsafe to drink, according to government officials.

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The Tatmadaw is responsible for taking action in a case involving more than 300 tonnes of illegally harvested timber in Pyin Oo Lwin township, Mandalay Region, which was discovered last month in a protected forest area cordoned off for military research.

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Pegu Division has become the latest region hit by flooding in Burma, with more than 50,000 people affected, according to the office of the divisional government.

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Events of recent weeks have provided a few more reasons to be frustrated with the National League for Democracy – both its government and parliamentary cohort.

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“…if [Asia] implements the coal-based plans right now, I think we are finished,” Mr Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, told the Climate Action Summit in Washington in early May.

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The government’s economic policy, released last week, could dovetail with its peace policy to help ensure resources are shared for the country as a whole, an economic analyst has said. A statement released on July 29 said greater fairness in the allocation of resources among regions and states could help the country pursue national reconciliation.

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As Burma once again experiences serious flooding, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has invited civil society organizations (CSOs) to join the ministry’s relief and rescue efforts. The ministry is set to meet CSOs in Mandalay on August 6 and has invited organizations from Kachin, Chin and Shan states, as well as Sagaing, Magwe and Mandalay divisions. Floods have affected more than 50,000 people so far, most of them in Arakan State and Mandalay and Magwe divisions. Win Myat Aye, minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, spoke to The Irrawaddy’s Htet Naing Zaw about his ministry’s plans to address the rising water levels.

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Nearly 100,000 people across five regions and one state have been relocated due to flooding, according to data from the Department of Relief and Resettlement covering the period from the last week of July to yesterday.

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Environmentalists are campaigning to prevent the destruction of the nation’s remaining mangrove forests because they provide protection from extreme weather and support a rich variety of marine life.

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A Shan human rights group has pressed the Burmese government to immediately suspend all resource extraction projects in ethnic states that have been ravaged by conflict and to end Burma Army offenses against civilians.

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Villages in Sagaing Division’s Kalewa Township along the Chindwin River are now experiencing a shortage of clean drinking water amid floods inundating homes and sullying water sources, according to local residents.

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An editorial in the Burmese state-run newspaper The Mirror has argued that the construction of the highly controversial Chinese-backed Myitsone Dam in Kachin State—suspended since 2011—should be completely abandoned, because it harms relations between Burma and China.

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The government will not renew mining permits for jade and gems when they expire and will only consider issuing new permits once by-laws to the Myanmar Gemstones Law have been passed, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation said yesterday.

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It is home to myriad rare creatures and even, legend says, a dragon. Pilgrims believe that gold in the surrounding hills is one of nine Buddhist miracles to grace the region.

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