Stone Mining in Kyaikmayaw Disturbing the Environment and Local Civilization

October 8, 2016

Local people in Kyaikmayaw are claiming that stone mining is disturbing the environment and their daily lives.

According to local people in Kyaikmayaw, stone mining appeared after Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL) came to build a cement industry. The stone mining started in 2014. It has been two years, within the first year, it was apparent that the environment was slowly being damaged.  
unnamed-4Nai Chit from Kwan Ngan village told HURFOM, “There are four stone mining operations in this area. As I know, MCL is the one operating the most. When they use explosives, it sometimes even shakes my house. When they persuaded us before they started mining, they claimed that there would not be any noise from the explosives.”

Na Chit continued to explain that there are explosions around 100 times a day. They usually start at 5am and end by 8pm in the evening.

“For me, I am worried about the pagodas because they are very close to the stone mining. Kyaik Jatkalaw Pagoda is just two feet away. It has not fully been damaged yet but it is starting to crack”, said Nai Chit.  He continued that “I heard that these stone mining operations are not granted permission from the government. The villagers are urging them to stop but they do not stop. They are greedy for the money.” It is said that the stone is used for gravel which is transported to Yangon. The transportation of the gravel is causing the roads in the village to become damaged and the companies are refusing to repair it.

When they use the explosives, small rocks fly into the air and drop onto the farms, causing farmers to step on small rocks and become injured. The mining causes farmers to stop working when the explosions are happening. Farmers have also found small rocks, from the mining, in the rice fields.

He continues “When it rains, soil from the stone [limestone] mining washes away with rain and goes into the river. It kills sea life and the river becomes dirty causing us to get itchy skin. We normally use the water from the river but now we try not to use it often as we are afraid to use it. When it rains, we use rain water but summer is approaching and therefore there will not be as much rain and we are worried about not having enough drinking water.”

Although they have not been granted permission from the government, they are still paying taxes to the New Mon State Party (NMSP).

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