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Published on Friday, 28 December 2012 11:33
Waste disposal ditch seen beside a farm during December (Photo-Aung Thu Nyein)
An oil refinery in Mann Oil Field in central Myanmar is installing steel pipes to dispose waste after its sludge allegedly caused soil pollution in the area, according to a source.
During the recent flood, waters from Ayeyarwady River mixed with the waste disposed in a ditch and sent the waste to the surrounding farmlands. The ditch, dug in 2004, underwent erosion several times earlier during flooding and had been maintained irregularly.
According to sources, the waste leak from the refinery in Minbu Township, Sagaing Division caused soil pollution to at least 50 acres of farmland.
“The damaged land next to the oil field is my farm. Once the waste leaks into the land, it cannot grow anything for four to five years,” said one of the farmers who grow beans, sunflowers and various maize in the farmlands there.
The refinery is installing 300-feet-long 10-inch radius steel pipes to drain out waste to the mouth of the ditch which leads to the Mann stream. Mann stream flows into the Ayeyarwady River.
It will soon solve the problem of leaking industrial waste into nearby lands, said authorities of the joint-venture refinery of Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and Singapore-based MORL Co. Ltd.
Locals, meanwhile, expressed concerns of possible toxicity and environmental impact from the waste.
Talking to journalists, an official of the refinery appeared not ready to admit the damage.
“We will know whether the refinery’s waste is the actual cause of the damage only after the experts examine everything,” he said.
Asked about compensation to the land owners, he said the issue would be brought up once the actual cause of the damage has been ascertained.