Regular water quality monitoring in Yangon sheds light on the causal link between water pollution and liquor factories and accordingly call for setting up waste water treatment plan.

What is the problem we are trying to tackle?

Myanmar has been facing considerable challenges with the management of waste as a result of increasing income and consumption levels, urban population growth, and lack of effective waste treatment and disposal options. In this regard, the country’s Environmental Conservation Law was established with the objective of enabling the implementation of the Myanmar National Environmental policy, which was enacted in 2012.Environmental Conservation Rules have also been developed for the implementation of the Law. Myanmar has drawn wastewater related laws and rules under the Environmental Conservation Law in 2012, Environmental Conservation Rules in 2014, Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure and Environmental Quality(emission) in 2015.But these laws and rules have not been effectively implemented. In the country’s pursuit to develop its industries, environmental protection must also be part of the economic development and if economic development is pursued without considering the damages to the environment and ecosystem, the water, atmosphere and the soil can be affected. The disposal of untreated wastewater from industries are threatening the state’s development and wastewater is very dangerous and it should be controlled. It will leave behind a spoilt environment for next generation. In addition, untreated wastewater can adversely affect marine lives and plants, and also cause respiratory diseases, and it began yeasting and produces a fermented liquid which emit a very foul smell. If it drops into water, the fish cannot stay alive.

In Yangon region’s 24 industrial zones alone, there are 3474 factories but only 188 have proper wastewater treatment facility reported by the Pollution Control and Cleansing Department(PCCD) According to PCCD’s statistics,  there are total of 72 distilleries around the country and out of 16 distilleries located in Yangon Region, 14 have been closed temporarily for not have wastewater treatment facility. Since most factories dispose their wastewater in creeks and rivers many of these water channels including the Yangon River, Hlaing River , Pun Hlaing River, Bago River and Nga Moe Yeik Creek, are becoming very polluted. PCCD told that there are only 10 percent of the factories which have proper wastewater treatment facilities, adding that the government has taken action against distilleries, which have high volume of wastewater.

What do we do to address it?

On 12 to 13 October 2017, ALARM in collaboration with Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce(UMFCCI), Myanmar Industrial Association (MIA), Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association(MFPEA) participated and discussed at the workshop on Abatement of Environmental pollution from Industrial waste water and aims to understand environmental laws and regulations, to highlight the impacts of industrial waste water disposal, to find issues and challenges of waste water pollution management, to obtain technical knowhow for proper waste water treatment from local and abroad, to find ways to develop central waste water treatment plant in industrial zones and to develop proper monitoring mechanism. The workshop is headed by UMFCCI  with the assistance of related ministries, Yangon Regional Government, Yangon Technical University and Civil groups. ALARM presented the Environmental Impacts due to disposal of industrial waste water.

What has ALARM achieved?

At the workshop, five discussion points about the Environmental Laws, regulations and national emission guidelines, Environmental management plan(EMP), Development of central waste water treatment plants in industrial zones, transfer of proper technical knowhow to concerned stakeholders, development of proper monitoring mechanism were done. Members of Parliament, staffs from Ministry of Industry, YCDC, concerned person form Yangon Technological University(YTU), the members of Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association(MFPEA), owners form Industrial zones and Environmental NGO& INGOs attended the workshop. After conducting the workshop, Regional Hlutaw had come to focus on the waste water issues and push the liquor factories to establish the waste water treatment due to the hotline information. Similarly, ALARM can negotiate with UMFCCI to conduct Volunteer Grievance Procedure and Capacity Building and are currently working with it for the next process. In addition, the government warned factories to treat their wastewater properly before disposing it into rivers or face penalties, including closure of their facilities and 14 distilleries have been closed temporarily for not having wastewater treatment facility Beside, many media published the news about the water pollution.

How are we learning and improving?

  • Will cooperate with UMFCCI to strengthen the Volunteer Grievance Procedure
  • Monitor the next activities of the distilleries continuously
  • Continue the testing of water quality around the industrial zones

Presentation at the workshop on Abatement of Environmental pollution from Industrial waste water

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