Environment


A total of 3,200 civil servants have faced legal action during the past 10 years for involvement in illegal logging, the director-general of the Forest Department in Nay Pyi Taw, U Zaw Win, said on April 22.
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Sule Pagoda Road in downtown Rangoon is famous for its role in Burma’s turbulent recent history. With its golden pagoda rising at one end, it has always served as a popular gathering point for street protests.
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Communities in northern Shan State have grown worried over two large hydropower dams planned on the Salween River and its tributary, after government officials and representatives of a Burmese and Chinese company informed them about the projects last month, Shan NGOs said Tuesday.
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A ban on all raw timber exports from Burma came into effect on Tuesday, in an attempt to rein in one of the country’s highly lucrative and notoriously corrupt extractives. The new regulation, which criminalises cross-border trade of unrefined wood products, is meant to stop the flow of raw resources and encourage development of value-added processing industries, though many are sceptical of the government’s ability to accomplish that outcome.
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An international environmental organization said it is working with the Burmese government to create a national park in Kachin State’s Hsalaw Township in order to protect the forests of the critically endangered Myanmar Snub-nosed Monkey, which are being logged by traders supplying timber to nearby China.
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Between 2000 and 2013, Burma’s rich forests were decimated through authorized logging as well as a massive illegal timber trade that saw 22.8 million cubic meters of wood with an estimated total value of US$8 billion leave the country, a new report says. (more…)

It is still home to some of the most pristine forests in Southeast Asia. But forest experts warn that Myanmar is fast losing its woodlands due to a combination of commercial logging, agricultural expansion and firewood harvesting.
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Where the Indian Ocean rolls toward Myanmar’s southwestern coast, a lacework of 800 islands rises, fringed with shimmering beaches of no footprints.
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Crimson-robed monks carrying parasols and rice bowls on the streets of Yangon now stroll past billboards for Coca-Cola (KO), Huawei (002502:CH) phones, and breezy dresses from Spanish fashion-brand Mango. Yet even as foreign brands and investors rush into Myanmar’s largest city, which is newly clogged with traffic, much of the country has yet to show clear signs of the political and economic transformation that began in 2011. Less than an hour’s drive outside Yangon, neighborhood streets are still unpaved, and 80 percent of Myanmar’s people still lack access to electricity.
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Myanmar has lost 40 days from its annual monsoon in the past 35 years, leading to severe shortages of water both for consumption and agriculture – but the government has yet to formulate a policy on how to tackle climate change, activists charged Monday.
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The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) led a workshop hosting several local companies as a part of a new project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an official said.
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Raw timber export is estimated to rise by 33 percent this year, in the lead-up to a nationwide ban on the commodity.
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The upper reaches of the Chindwin River have become dangerously polluted from mercury used in illegal gold mining operations, civil society groups have warned.
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Various geological and environmental experts will discuss the controversial Myitsone dam project at the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Yangon on February 1.
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With a ban on log exports set for next year, foreign buyers of Burmese teak and other rare woods are looking to open timber processing facilities inside Burma.
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The mangrove forests of Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta have been devastated by deforestation, and could be completely wiped out in the next few decades if nothing is done to save them, according to a new study. (more…)

Those who destroy the natural resources of Myanmar are really a destructive force against the country, President Thein Sein told a rural development workshop held in the nation’s capital yesterday.
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The Global Institute of Energy and Environmental Change based in Beijing has announced that they will provide Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) training for Myanmar MPs.
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Tens of thousands of acres of farmland across Burma were destroyed by extreme elements of both flooding and drought during the seasonal monsoon in August, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
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Floods in southern Burma’s Karen and Mon states have worsened in recent days and are now affecting more than 37,000 people, while at least one person was killed, officials said on Thursday. They warned that heavy rains would continue in coming days. (more…)

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