By NJ Thakuria
Global rights body Amnesty International (AI) urged the Myanmar Union government in Naypyidaw to immediately relocate a hazardous Sulphuric acid factory, built close to Kankone village, as it was posing serious health & environmental problems in the locality.
Moe Gyo Sulphuric Acid Factory, erected in 2007 adjacent to Kankone locality in Sagaing region of northwest Burma (Myanmar) continues spreading smelling emissions causing respiratory, skin and eye problems to the villagers.
It came to light during a recent AI research mission to Myanmar, when the residents of Kankone village informed the AI representatives about their health related ailments. Slowly the emissions have damaged the soil and also crops in the area.
“Myanmar’s government must intervene immediately and stop the operations of the Sulphuric acid factory. The factory must be relocated to an area where it can’t endanger anybody’s health,” said AI business & human rights researcher Mark Dummett, who visited the Burmese village last month, in a statement.
The said Sulphuric acid factory was the subject of an investigation committee led by Aung San Suu Kyi in 2013, where the committee found that the factory was built without necessary permission from local authorities. The company that runs the factory is owned by the Myanmar military.
“It is a criminal offence in Myanmar to operate a factory without permission but the government failed to open an investigation into this matter, and imposed no sanction on the owners for illegally operating the factory from 2007 to 2013,” added the AI statement.
The newly elected municipal authorities recently decided not to renew the factory’s annual license to operate pending an assessment of its health and environmental impacts. According to the villagers, the factory stooped from functioning for some weeks, but soon resumed its operations on 15 June without renewing the license.
“The Myanmar government needs to stop the operations of the factory and move it to a safe location. It also should ensure that any negative impacts caused by the factory are fully assessed, disclosed and remediated,” asserted Mark Dummett.
Photo – amnestyusa