The Irrawaddy

Businesses in Nine Sectors Must Submit Environmental Plans: Govt

A factory in Mawlamyine Industrial Zone. (Hintharnee/The Irrawaddy)

MAWLAMYINE, Mon State — Businesses in nine sectors marked as potentially harmful to the environment will be asked to submit environmental management plans (EMP), according to the Mon State government.

The National-level Environmental Conservation and Climate Change Central Committee decided in June that all firms in food and beverage production, cement production, textile dying, foundry, leather processing, pulp and paper production, and sugar production must submit EMPs for approval.

But progress has been sluggish on the matter, with Mon State minister for resources and environmental conservation Dr. Min Kyi Win saying, “We have yet to inform the concerned businesspeople.”

The Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection under the industry ministry licenses factories and workshops. But there is little cooperation between the natural resources and environmental conversation ministry and the industry ministry, said Dr. Min Kyi, which breeds irresponsible business operations.

He cited the state government’s recent surprise checks on some factories in Mawlamyine in which the majority of the operations were found to be violating guidelines.

The environmental conservation department has issued guidelines to factories regarding environmental conservation. It will shut down factories that fail to implement the guidelines, said the department’s deputy director U Soe Naing.

The department will ask factories to make any necessary changes over “a certain period of time” in order to avoid damaging the environment, he said.

“If they fail to fix [the issues] beyond that period, we’ll take legal actions,” U Soe Naing told The Irrawaddy.

He added that the ministry is too under-resourced to detect all industrial pollution and supervise factories and workshops.

After lawmakers in the state parliament raised questions about strong-smelling rubber processing plants on the Mawlamyine-Mudon highway in September, the Mon State chief minister suspended the plants’ production until they submit EMPs to the state government.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.