Photo: KESAN (Karen Environmental and Social Network)

Black Water and Life in the Contaminated Area in Karen State, Myanmar

By: KESAN (Karen Environmental and Social Network)

TROSA partner KESAN together with Karen Rivers Watch (KRW), MATA (Myanmar Alliances on Transparency and Accountability) and ALARM Myanmar (Advancing Life and Regenerating Motherland) organized a report launch via Zoom with an active live panel discussion on October 21, 2020. The report is about environmental, social and political problems associated with the impacts of generating Coal power for Cement Factory in Myaing Kalay Village in Karen State, Myanmar.

Since October 2019, there have been water contamination problems in nearby village resulted in changes in the colour of well water, fish dying and health issues from using those water sources in nearby lake areas such as some Daw La Lake villages where KESAN’s Community Based Water Governance “CBWG” project is happening. Therefore, villagers have been working with KESAN/KRW, MATA and ALARM on community and scientific research and also advocacy dealing with relevant Karen state government department of environment and social affairs.

There have been some ground assessment activities from government agencies. However, this was not done properly to analyze the actual impacts in the area and there is no transparency and proper accountability mechanism from the State government. In addition to this, research activities from CSOs are limited by the government. Even one of our colleagues is threatened by police and Karen state government throughout a lawsuit against him since April.

These complex situations raised many questions regarding human rights and freedom of expressions and how government implement their policies on the ground when there are military interests involved and manage these extractive projects. Urgently villagers have no access to clean drinking water right now. Thus, this report launch was organized with media organizations to bring more public attention and support.

Published with permission from KESAN, Myanmar. Views expressed are solely those of the author/s.