Aye Min Soe
The Sagaing Region Government has suspended the operation of jade mines for failing to follow rules and regulations for disposing of mining waste. Environmentalists and local residents welcomed the decision of the government.
There are more than 1,000 mining companies — legal and illegal — in Kachin State and Sagaing Region, creating job opportunities for migrant workers.
However, irresponsible dumping of waste soil by the companies near rivers, combined within forest depletion in the areas, has caused the deposit of a large amount of silt in the rivers, resulting in frequent floods during the rainy season.
In addition, silt brought by the rivers has increased the deposits in the dams, lowering the water storage capacity.
Experts have found that dams released water through their spillways in the face of rising water levels because their storage capacity has become inadequate to control flooding. The cause is not faulty design but because of the silt brought by the rivers.
The worst flood in 100 years that hit the country last year has highlighted the deterioration of the environment and can be considered a degradation of our natural resources. Internationally, wildfires, slash-and-burn agriculture practices, mining, industrialization, development projects and the over-extraction of timber, legally or illegal, are being blamed for the depletion of the forests.
But man-made causes are preventable.
Those who are taking part in this business should take responsibility for their actions to prevent the detrimental social and environmental impact of their activities in this largely unregulated industry.