Leading environmental conservation groups last month agreed to establish an environmental network to share information and coordinate activities.
Fifty-three groups agreed to create the network at a meeting at the Myanmar Baptist Convention Hall in Mandalay Region’s Pyin Oo Lwin from November 21-24.
Daw Daewi Thant Sin, the chief editor of Aungpinlae magazine and a member of the Global Green Group, said the network could serve as an intermediary between the government and the public.
“The government realises the importance of conserving the environment … but it needs to get real information from the grassroots level,” she said.
“There are so many groups across the nation doing conservation activities as much as they can but we are not as effective as we could be. I decided to organise these groups into a national network to strengthen our activities … we can cooperate and help each other, implement conservation activities together and share information.
However, establishing the network will not be easy, Spectrum member Ko Maw Tun Aung warned. “This is just the first gathering and we need to discuss it more. All participants need to have unity and actively participate in future activities. We need to keep in touch and continue to support the creation of the network,” he said.
The four-day gathering was organised by Spectrum (Sustainable Development Knowledge Network), Judson Research Centre and Global Green Group and participants also discussed the environmental problems afflicting their regions.
“Many factories in Pyay dispose of their chemical waste into rivers and creeks. It might be harmful for the health of residents because they use this water but we don’t have the chance to call on anyone to solve this problem,” said Ko Nyein Chan Wai, a member of Green Generation, based in Pyay, Bago Region. “We expect that if this network is realised, other people in the network can help us find a way to solve these issues.”
Ma Sapal Lin from the Dawei Research Association based in Tanintharyi Region, spoke about issues related to the Dawei Special Economic Zone.
“The Dawei deepsea project is being implemented in my hometown and environmentalists say it can have a negative impact on both our environment and society but residents don’t know much about it,” she said. “Some villages have to move because of the project. They don’t want to move and they don’t want compensation – but they can’t do anything. I expect that this network can help in some way.”