Myanmar SandBurma Sand
Sand mining in Myanmar
A Myanmar-based Bethia Kadoe, who holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Policy, International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE) from Clark University, Worcester MA, USA, was interned at MCRB for a period of one months in 2017 and worked with WWF to investigate stream sand extraction in the Ayeyarwady/Yangon region.
While sand and aggregate quarrying has not been directly addressed in MCRB's Sector Wide Impact Assessment of Landfill Mines, MCRB has involved interest groups in various cases of sand quarrying related to broader societal and ecological effects of sand quarrying, as well as the production of sand in Ngapali and Ngwesaung and sea sand in Tanintharyi. The WWF released a report on the Ayeyarwady River and the Myanmar economy in May 2018:
Vol. 1 Risk and opportunity from the point of view of those who live and work on the water. About 10 million tons of sand and pebbles are reported to be mined on the Ayeyarwady Riverside each year. It is considered a major underestimation of the overall sand production from the Ayeyarwady stream (estimated at 20 million tons or about 10% of the overall 220 million tons budgeted for sediment).
As most of the engineering and design work takes place in the pool, it can be assumed that most structures, streets and footbridges are constructed with sand from the rivers. In view of the quantities of material collected during the surveys, the state of Myanmar's progress and the large quantities of sand and pebbles needed for constructing, highway constructing and embanking, it is very likely that continuing threats such as riparian degradation and the growing susceptibility of a declining deltas will persist.
Department orders prohibition of sand extraction
Rakhine State Department of Hotel and Tourism has ordered the state of Rakhine to stop sand extraction on a number of beloved Ngapali beach areas as a recent PR effort against this trend has gained further impetus. It was announced as a lorry, apparently belonging to a firm called "Bravo World", on April 6 in the breakers of Zeephyukone - just a few meters from the visitors at Amazon Ngapali Resort, one of the leading destinations and a favorite among high-ranking governmen.
The Zeephyukon is one of three sandy areas where sand extraction is allowed for "regional development" although sand is not suitable for building and the extraction of sand on sandy areas is expressly prohibited by the MHT. Principal U Myo Win Nyunt said to the Myanmar Times today that the Myanmar Times has already ordered the Rakhine state administration to enforce policies prohibiting the extraction of sand from the sands.
"It' s going to affect the Ngapali beaches when crowds are digging sand out of the beaches near the host. He said, "We don't think the competent agencies should allow this on the beaches. "You have to act in accordance with the guidelines of the federal administration and also the inhabitants have to do so.
Commentaries by the goverment on coal production, which a number of hotel owners in the region have described as polluting and detrimental to the tourist industry's reputation, have been the most powerful so far. However, many seem to be worried about expressing themselves, with mine criminals claiming that this is permitted because of "arrangements" between locals and civil servants.
Rakhine state administration spokesman U Win Myaing said he did not know that sand was being removed from the beaches in contravention of the state' s rule. "There is no information from the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism about the sand extraction controls on the beaches. He contradicts the remarks of the Myanmar Times manager, U Than Zaw Han, who said in early March that it was the local authority that approved the use of mines at the three locations - Zeephyukone, Lintha and Gaw - with the consent of the Department of Water Resources and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
The Myanmar Times has received a document showing that on January 1, 2004, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism confirmed a sand extraction prohibition in Regulation No.2/2015. Meanwhile, on January 27, the general administration of the community headed by U Than Zaw Han issueed a municipal order - No. 1/2015 - prohibiting the "digging of sand on the beach", and added that "anyone who violates the above regulations must expect serious measures under the law".
In spite of the order, one of the groups that mined the sand said that the municipality launched a call for tenders and gave it a license to mine sand in mid-March. The Funeral and Blood Donation Association's director, U Nyunt Khaing, said his group used sand extraction funds to finance their work.
Said he was sellin' the sand to public and privately owned building yards, includin' owned by the state, for 15,000 K per truck load. "Thandwe' administration phoned a bidding process for mine licenses and our civic organization was awarded a license for a year," said Nyunt Khaing. An anti-sand mine drive started at the end of last months has gained further pace, with Max Myanmar, previously under investigation for his Ngapali resort development, becoming part of the alliance against sand mine on the beaches of Ngapali and Myanmar.
"He strongly condemned the sand being dug in and around Ngapali beaches, which will have a profound environmental impact," he said. Allianz members started posting signs in the Ngapali and Ngapali communities saying that the sand extraction will harm the tourist sector, which is the largest in the region.
Meanwhile, firms whose name and telephone numbers are on the side of the lorries that took sand from Zeephyukone have been insisting that they were not engaged in mines. That'?s why they think we take the sand off the shore. Myint Mo Oo spokesman said the business sells farm produce and is not engaged in sand mines.
Nyunt U Khaing said his group took only three or four shipments per days from the shore, alternately between the three locations. But he didn't know that the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism banned it. However, mine criminals say it endangers the Rakhine's inheritance, both in terms of nature and culture, as well as its ability to earn money in the years to come.
"We need legislation, perhaps at the parliamentary levels, to govern sand extraction at all sites," said Vicky Bowman of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business.