Kyaukme Locals Worried About Health Impacts of Coal Mining

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The air and water quality has been affected over the last 10 years, villagers say.

coal mining
Photo by – Kyaukme villager

After more than 10 years of coal mining in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme Township, locals say that they are experiencing adverse health effects.

The China-backed coal extraction project began in 2008, and has affected the air and water quality in the area, according to villagers, who fear negative impacts could worsen as the initiative reportedly expands.

“Local people in Mong Tan [village] are really worried about this—their farms are located downstream from the coal mining project,” Sai Tun Win, a state parliamentarian from Kyaukme, told SHAN. If polluted water from the project leaks into the Nam Tang stream, local people will face difficulties cultivating their farms. They depend so much on this stream.”

coal mining
Photo by – Kyaukme villager

Villagers said that the company is now exploring new locations from which to mine.

“When local people complain about the coal extraction happening at a new site, they replied, ‘we are extracting it from the earth, not from your farms,” a 30-year-old Kyaukme woman told SHAN, referring to the company in charge.

Area roads have also been damaged in the process, particularly those in Pangma-Pieng Sing village tract, where the mining project is located. The area is about 20 miles from Kyaukme, on the road to Mogok.

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