Experts call for total shutdown of Tikyit coal-fired power plant citing severe air, water pollutions

Wai Lin Aung

Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) and environmental experts has held a press conference calling for the closure of a Chinese company-owned Tikyit coal-fired power plant in Shan State citing severe air and water pollutions and consequential sufferings of local people.

The press conference took place at Orchid Hotel in Yangon on September 6.

The power station is situated Tikyit Village, 13 miles from the world-famous Inlay Lake in Taunggyi District, southern Shan State. Tikyit Village is regarded as one of the ASEAN heritages site and one of the most famous destinations in Myanmar.

Use of dynamites in the coal pit has damaged pagodas and temples and about 12,000 local people within a radius of five miles are suffering from air and water pollutions.

Women and young children are most vulnerable and there have been several health problems allegedy associated with the coal plant such as miscarriages, births with low weight. There are also other problems such as sick farm animals and low quality fruits and vegetables.

Air quality expert Lauri Myllyvirta from Green Peace said the air pollution of Tikyit region worsened two times more than that of Beijing, while SO2 content was 15 times higher than in China and 90 times higher than in the United States.

Water quality expert Paul Winn from Water Keeper Alliance also said that a cement factory and two coal-fired power plants around Tikyit region were forcing mineral solutions to the region's water resources. He pointed out that local people should not use the water from the region even for washing purposes, calling for the government to test water quality.

MATA member U Moe said the Shan State government had invited to hear the briefing on disadventages of Tikyit coal-fired power plant but no government official turned up. He said those findings would be sent to the union government.