Locals reject MCL’s environmental assessment report of its coal powered cement factory

August 22, 2017

HURFOM: On August 17th 2017, a public consultation on Mawlamyine Cement Limited’s (MCL) environmental and social impact assessment (EIA/SIA) reports for its coal powered cement factory in Kyaikmayaw Township’s Pyar Taung Region was held at the Rehmonnya Hotel in Mawlamyine, Mon State. However, critics say the submitted reports are not in accordance with current environmental laws.

According to MCL, they followed instructions by the Union Government in 2016 and the reports match the current environmental laws; however, information they presented in May 2017 is based on data collected in 2013. Therefore, according to the Pyar Taung community leader Nai Ye Zaw, the reports submitted by the MCL are incorrect and unofficial.

Lots of changes have happened during the period [since 2013]. The environmental and social situations are very different [from the past]. So the report is not official. We can’t accept those reports,” said Nai Ye Zaw.

He continued that the MCL’s reports have violated the rules and regulations of the EIA and SIA laws. After reporting to the government, the EIA and SIA reports must be shown to the public within 15 days, but MCL failed to do so. Moreover, incorrect and outdated data and information have also been included in the report.

According to Daw Khin Ohnmar Htwe, an adviser from Resource and Environment Myanmar Ltd. (REM), even though the Burma environmental laws were approved in 2014, the rules and regulations on EIA were only officially released on December 29th 2015.

MCL Executive Officer U Zaw Lwin Oo responded that they had already understood that the EIA and SIA reports must be submitted [to the government] prior to the construction of the factory and they submitted the reports to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in 2013.

We constructed the factory only after we got permission. When the factory was finished, we were told that the EIA report must be re-submitted. So it’s difficult to do so,” said U Zaw Lwin Oo.

According to the environmental specialist U Soe Aung, Burma requires three environmental reports – Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

The MCL must amend their EMP report to include six phases – Corrective Action, Construction, Operation, Decommission Factory, Decommission Project, and Monitoring. The MCL’s report must be based on these phases and their report must cover past, present, and future situations. No one will accept the report if it is submitted in the wrong format,” said U Soe Aung.

“As MCL has already been operating [in Kyaikmayaw Township], if MCL decides to draw their environmental management plans systematically, the local people will accept the company,” said Daw Khin Ohnmar Htwe of REM.

More than 100 participants joined the August 17th consultation, including the Mon State Chief Minister Dr. Aye Zan, the Minister of the Mon State Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Dr Min Kyi Win, government officials, local monks, civil society groups, and local residents.

 

 

 

 

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