Thilawa impact studies will be released in full

The environmental and social assessments conducted for phase two of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone will be made available to the public in their entirety, said reps from the Japanese and Myanmar companies tasked with the project.

ERM-Environmental Resources Management (Japan) Limited and Myanmar’s E-Guard Environmental Services Co made the promise to residents at an explanatory meeting in Kyauktan township on July 1.

E-Guard managing director U Aye Thiha said the reports would be released to the public in full and the companies would not bow to any pressure to amend their findings.

“I would never follow any instruction from the government to edit or change anything in our assessment,” U Aye Thiha said.

“We will put all our findings and assessments in our report. However, it will not be our responsibility if the government doesn’t follow our report.”

The Thilawa SEZ project area is 20 kilometres [32 miles] from central Yangon and will cover 2342 hectares. The first stage of the project, covering 396 hectares, is under development, with construction work on factories due to start shortly.

The environmental assessment for phase two will examine the quality of the air, the soil and nearby water sources and will assess how the impact on local wildlife can be minimised, said Daw Than Than Twin, joint secretary of the zone’s management committee.

While there are environmental laws in place in Myanmar there are no regulations fixing land, air or water quality levels. Instead, ERM and E-Guard said, parameters will be followed that are laid down by the ministry of industry.

One local resident asked how waste water would be managed.

“If waste water from the factories will flow directly into the six brooks in this area, this will certainly hit not only the livelihoods of the people living in the two townships of the SEZ area, but also the people of the other four townships named Kawhmu, Kungyangon, Dala and Twante,” U Mya Hlaing said.

Daw Than Than Twin said any waste water from factories will only flow into water channels after being recycled in a plant that will be set up in the SEZ.

A number of companies have already announced plans to set up inside the economic zone, including Ball Corp of the United States and Japanese car part producer Koyo Radiator Company. Both signed agreements with Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd to invest in the zone on June 6, with Ball Corp’s factory estimated to cost US$40 million.


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