Gold Mining Destroying Fish Stocks In Irrawaddy River
By Network Media Group
Monday, February 21, 2022
After the coup, fishermen are catching fewer fish because mining along the Irrawaddy River has contaminated the area.
“The water has become murky because of the many gold mines upstream…Mercury from mining has contaminated the river,” said Ah Taar from Myitkyina, who explained they used to catch one to two viss (3.26 kg) of fish, but now only come home with half a viss. This is a dramatic decline that’s affecting the livelihoods fishermen depend on for their daily survival, he says.
Mining companies are dumping their waste into the river, killing the fish, while some fishermen are also shocking the fish with electricity, leading to a decline in stock in the country’s largest and most important waterway, Ah Taar says.
Locals told NMG that it’s not safe to drink the water and that their skin itches when they bathe in it.
The regime has given permission to many cronies and entrepreneurs to mine gold in the Myitsone region of Kachin State.
Environmentalists have long pointed out the destructive impact of gold mining in the area, which was reduced under the former government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Under the dictatorship, the situation has continued to worsen, affecting the welfare and health of thousands of people and wildlife native to the region.