Mandalay industrial zone waste water poisons river

According to reports, over 90 factories in the Mandalay Industrial Zone in Pyigyidagun Township, have been dumping waste water into the Dunawadi River, depriving villages situated downstream of drinkable water and causing health problems.

The waste water, which enters the river through a pipeline that discharges the water around the clock, has been tested and found to contain 450 per cent more arsenic than the law allows.

Harmful waste water used to be dumped into the nearby northern and southern moats until June 2015.

A wastewater treatment plant is being built, but it not expected to be complete for another two years.

A preliminary report on the new treatment plant tested the river’s water and found abnormally high amounts of harmful substances, including aluminium, iron, grease, oil and other organic compounds.

There are around 70 villages along the Dunawadi River between the waste water pipeline and the convergence with the Ayeyawady River.

However, the 13 villages closest to the pipeline, including Myo Pyin Kyee, Ooyindaw, Kanbe, Yaykyipaut, Myittoo and Lakesankhun, have had to completely abandon using the river as a drinking water source. Now, the villagers must buy drinking water.

Locals have also reported that odours coming from the river are causing nausea and muscle stiffness in the river communities. They have also complained about a surge in the presence of mosquitoes and related health issues.

“Waste water is being taken from the moats and directly discharged into the Dunawadi River via a pipeline without any prior treatment. This is a complete dismissal of the need hold the country and the people’s natural resources dear. I have no idea what was going through their minds when they decided to do this. People who commit such crimes in Indonesia can get up to 9 years in prison and have to pay a US$1 million fine. No matter what the reason is, it is unacceptable because it affects not only the Dunawadi but also many people, animals and other resources since the Dunawadi meets the Ayeyawady a couple of nautical miles downstream,” said Maung Maung Oo of Green Motherland, an environmental activist group.

An official from the Mandalay City Development Committee said: “There is no other way to discharge the water except into the river before the waste water treatment plant is completed. The release of waste water has been limited from 6pm until 5am, but reports say it is being done 24 hours. If this rule was followed, the damage would not be too great, and when factories get shut down for violations of regulations, the owners go and curry favour with regional government officials. Another problem is that since the Thingyan period is near, factories are rushing. We want to shut them down for good, and right now, we have notified the factories of this. The waste water treatment plant will still take another two years.”

Source:  Eleven Myanmar

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