An environment conservation group is planning to arrange a health survey at a village close to an acid plant near the Letpadaung copper mine to determine if it is the cause of the deaths of 31 villagers during the past 11 months.
The chair of the Yangon-based Greenland group, U Win Myo Thu, told Mizzima in a telephone interview on December 8 that it planned to conduct the survey of Kan Kone village with the help of medical specialists.
The village is about 200 meters from the Moe Kyoe acid plant which was built by military-owned conglomerate Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd., and began supplying sulphuric acid to the Letpadaung, Sabei and Kyay Sin copper mine projects in 2007.
U Win Myo Thu said the villagers suspected the acid plant was the cause of the 31 deaths in the 11 months to the end of November and the survey would help to determine why they had died.
A list of deaths had been compiled by a social service society organized by the villagers, who have held four protests during the past year to demand that the plant to be closed.
“The information that the villagers have provided might be wrong,” said U Win Myo Thu, who has written on his social media website that respiratory diseases have been the cause of 16 percent of the deaths in Kan Kone village.
He said health surveys would be conducted in other villagers because a comparison with Kan Kone village would be useful in helping to determine why the deaths had occurred.
A Kan Kone resident, U Aung Soe, 41, said the death rate in the village was rising every year.
“We cannot say exactly why, but the acid plant produces strong fumes,” he said.
U Aung Soe said sunflower and sesame crops near the factory had stopped growing at the end of October. The villagers believed that the crops had been affected by waste from the factory, he said.
The plant produces about 50 tonnes of sulphuric acid a year, or about 98 percent of the acid needed by the three mines to process copper.
The Myanmar local military authorities have arrested 31 timber smugglers along with some small firearms and ammunition in a special operation against illegal logging and timber smuggling in Mansi, northernmost Kachin state, state media reported Friday.
The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) will provide USD 500000 to Myanmar for environmental conservation in catchment areas west of Inlay Lake in Nyaungshwe Township, Shan State.
The announcement was made to Mizzima on September 11, by the Inn Literature and Culture Association.
Myanmar Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) and China's Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Co., Ltd of China on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Clean Development Management project.
At the signing ceremony held in Nay Pyi Taw, the MoU was inked by U Tin Tun, director general of Planning and Statistics Department of MOECAF and Tao Zepu, head of Carbon Division of Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Co., Ltd.
The Tanintharyi long-tailed monkey, a species long assumed to be extinct, has recently been discovered in Myanmar, according to Maung Maung Pyone, the secretary of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association.
Speaking to Mizzima, he said that the discovery was made by members of Fauna & Flora International, an international NGO, who came to Myanmar four months ago in an attempt to verify and trace whether the long-tailed monkey was in fact alive and surviving in the jungles of Myanmar.
“We found what we thought was the Tanintharyi Lunkuger some months ago,” he said. “After a series of blood, hair and skin tests we confirmed that it was definitely the Tanintharyi long-tailed monkey.
“We thought they were extinct, but now they’re back! This is a national treasure for Myanmar,” he said.
A project to conserve and protect the Tanintharyi long-tailed monkey is scheduled to be laid out in the near future, he added.