Category Archives: Environment

FLOATING LABORATORY LAUNCHED TO MONITOR LOKTAK LAKE

FLOATING LABORATORY LAUNCHED TO MONITOR LOKTAK LAKE

With the view to protect the Loktak lake from further deterioration, a mobile research laboratory has been launched to study and evaluate the ecosystem of the lake. On the occasion of its launch, Manipur Forest and Environment Minister Mr. Thounaoujam Shyam Kumar expressed his concern over the increased pollution penetrating in the lake and the need for floating laboratory of Institute of Bio resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) to monitor its ecosystem.

 

With water quality machine installed, the boat is built to operate across the lake for twenty- four hours assessing the quality of water and thereby, has been made proficient to tap on the temperature scales, chemical composition apart from the rest. More than four months were spent by ISBD to shape the boat as remarked by IBSD Director Professsor Dinabandhu Sahoo.

Mr. Shyam Kumar observed that through this whole process of research, scientists have extracted alcohol from the grass present in lake and soon it would be sold, and also the possibility of making organic compost from phumdis has been recognised.In an effort to encourage tourism, it has been proposed to install mobile bio toilets at the Loktak lake.

As part of the task of saving the lake and the environment around it, the state and the central government would be working collectively, in addition to the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) and Institute of Bio- Resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD).

CONSERVATION BASED EDUCATION VEHICLE TO ADDRESS COMMUNITY WELLBEING

CONSERVATION BASED EDUCATION VEHICLE TO ADDRESS COMMUNITY  WELLBEING

In an effort to sensitise the local communities lodged around Manas National Park toward environmental conservation, High Commissioner of New Zealand to India Ms. Joanna Kempkers employed a van as an educational and knowledgeable tool to build a relationship of concern and proximity among the community members toward their environment.

An engaging conservation tool developed by Aaranyak was put in place with the view to spread awareness about the need to conserve and the measures to be adopted to practise environmental conservation. Part of Manas Tiger Conservation Programme (MTCP), this vehicular initiative was undertaken to attract the communities and interact with them about the positives about conservation-based education. With striking outer design of the bus, beautified by the local flora and fauna of the ecosystem of that place, this van helps in catching the attention of the community members and enables an opportunity of interaction with other members surrounding the landscape.

Conceived as a mobile educatory tool, the van is well installed and equipped with the needful resources both theoretical and practical. This comprises banners, display tools, extensive audio-visual media accessories like projector, generator and more. For demonstration purpose, a small laboratory like equipment is also placed in the van. To make it convenient and accessible at all times, folding tents exhibiting educational materials are also carried for on the spot awareness.

To further the engagement streak with the target audience, a conservation theatre has been conceptualised too, showcasing popular folktales disseminating conservation messages in a modernised manner. Experienced theatre artists have been chosen to perform conservation narratives through its theatrical tangent. To expand its conservation-based education amid the youth and the young nurturers in school across Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam, this van helps in organising educative shows in school.

Aaranyak in collaboration with the Forest Department BTC, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Awely have continuously worked and strived toward conservation and community centric amelioration in the landscape of Manas.

JAPAN ENCOURAGES MYANMAR FOR SHRIMP FARMING

JAPAN ENCOURAGES MYANMAR FOR SHRIMP FARMING

Myanmar’s slackened shrimp exports has caused its largest export market – Japan to support Myanmar in mushrooming its shrimp export supplies and its capacity building aspects. A host of reasons leading to the culled supply of the same stems from the report detailing exports to Japan. The report is backed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The reasons span from inefficient breeding technology, virus in the farmed fishery sector, loss of their natural habitat and inept preservation of fishery resources.

To allay the region’s limited supply of shrimps, Japan’s development aid agency has come forward to assist the country in boosting its export market and thus, enabled the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organisation(Myantrade) to review aquaculture practise. JICA’S mentor Mr. Kazuo Mishima asserted, “The country needs to increase its export supply capability as well as product quality and value.”

It’s been reckoned that the availability of 120,000 hectares of land and the right resources makes Myanmar fit for shrimp farming, given it is supported by the appropriate infrastructural requirements as per the department of Fisheries. On this, Vice Chair of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation Mr. U Kyaw Tun Myint expressed, “The Rakhine and Ayeyarwady coastlines can be used to farm and produce white Vietnamese shrimp for the purpose of export.”

The recent percentage of shrimp export from Myanmar to other countries is as follow – 24% to India, 4% to Japan and 27%to Vietnam. However, to accelerate this percentage share, productional raise of the shrimps has been proposed by Myanmar Trade Promotion Organisation (Myantrade) via tax incentives and procedural ease.

Recommendation of an effectual and sustainable aquaculture strategy to fix supply shortage of shrimps has led to framing of a National Aquaculture Development Plan (NADP) to formulate a long-term development of this sector.

MANGROVE FORESTS OF MYANMAR RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID FROM DENMARK

MANGROVE FORESTS OF MYANMAR RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID FROM DENMARK

As part of the Denmark- Myanmar 2016-2020 programme, Denmark shall assist and cooperate with Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation for a project on Administration of Mangrove Forests. Denmark’s Ambassador to Myanmar Mr. Peter Lysholt Hansen signed an agreement with the Environment Ministry at Nay Pyi Taw wherein Denmark has earmarked US$5.5 million for the project, along with its technical know-how. This assistance by Denmark is stipulated for a period of over five years, catering to the people of coastal regions of the Rakhine State and the Tanintharvi region.

The project strives to promote locally produced forests, discouraging excessive dependence on mangrove forests. With primary focus on environment protection and conservation, enhancing local’s capacity to concentrate on other projects while generating maritime business is also an underlined part of this association. Director General of Forest Department Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw remarked, “We will suggest best practices that won’t damage the environment and the daily lives of local people but will develop social and financial benefits.”

While observing the importance of mangrove forests in conserving the environment, Dr. Kyaw further highlighted the urgency of technical and financial aid in meeting the conservation needs sufficiently.

Sustainable development of mangrove forests is the need of the hour for Myanmar’s vulnerability to climate change is immense. Being reckoned as natural sinks of greenhouse gases and cyclone fighters for the well-being of coastal communities, mangrove forests need immediate rehabilitation and restoration.

New and Improved Conservatory Methods Adopted for Coral Structures Abounding Myeik Archipelago

Coral Structures Abounding Myeik Archipelago

The need for long-term sustenance of the coral reefs and continuous and active fish breeding grounds has attracted employment of conservatory and management tools: Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA), encircling the coral waters of the Myeik Archipelago of Myanmar.

In the pursuit to protect the coral reefs, its sensitive natural habitats, rich marine biodiversity and the mangrove nestled coastline in the interest of local community’s livelihood, the 800 islands comprising the Myeik Archipelago have been identified as the first fish conservation zone.

Mr. U Khin Maung Maw, Director General of the Fisheries Department, stated that the coral reefs abounding the Myeik Archipelago will be the first locally managed marine conservation area in the country.

The local community’s dwellings around the archipelago depend on the fishery as their main economic activity. However, with the emplacement of LMMA, and with the subsequent goal of the sustainable fishery, a zoning system has been adopted wherein only the fishes that have attained maturity shall be caught and coral areas will be rendered a no-fishing zone.

This has been put to practice due to the depletion of marine resources owing to exhaustive and illegal methods of fishing, excessive use of dynamite, and other devastating and destructive means, which have also injured the health and productivity of the marine ecosystem.

U Zaw Lunn, Marine Biologist at Fauna and Flora International (FFI) said, “The coral reefs are a natural habitat of marine creatures and the destruction of the coral area will result in the destruction of the natural habitat and breeding ground for marine life.”

Thereby, it is imperative that strict vigilance and attention is devoted to the health of the coral structures, for it enables the fishes to keep spawning which, in effect, forms a protective layer for itself too.

Myanmar Caught in the Trap of Climate Change

Swati Prabhu
Doctoral Candidate, Centre for European Studies,
School of International Studies, JNU

Myanmar Climate Change

With talks about climate change and sustainable development doing the round these days, the entire global fraternity is bearing the brunt of it and Myanmar is not left alone. With nearly 75% of the country’s population depending on agriculture, threats of water shortages, drought, heat waves etc, could easily take a toll on the livelihoods of people. The country’s anatomy is peculiarly shaped in the form of a kite with a long tail that runs south along the Malay Peninsula. It is also the northernmost country in the Southeast Asian region with China situated towards the north and northeast and India to the northwest. However, the country is not untouched by the damaging effects of the changing climate and fears of the worsening environment. According to the recent Asian Development Bank (ADB) report released earlier this year, climate change could prove to be disastrous for Asia, especially for Myanmar. President Trump’s appalling decision to withdraw support from the Paris Agreement, it may appear to have caused massive repercussions on the Asian dream of curbing emissions. However, with China taking a positive stance to press ahead with emissions reduction, countries like Myanmar hope to get some positive encouragement and assistance.

Myanmar Climate Change - PagodaThe report produced by the ADB and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) makes for grim reading, should the predictions eventuate. Under a “business as usual” scenario, a 6 degree Celsius temperature rise is projected over the Asian landmass by the end of the century, with an increase as high as 8 degrees C forecasted in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and northwest China. “These increases in temperature would lead to drastic changes in the region’s weather system, agriculture and fisheries sectors, land and marine biodiversity, domestic and regional security, trade, urban development, migration, and health. Such a scenario may even pose an existential threat to some countries in the region and crush any hope of achieving sustainable and inclusive development,” the report said. In addition to this, according to the 2016 Climate Risk Index, Myanmar is the second-most vulnerable country in the world to the effects of climate change. According to the latest projections, Myanmar faces more extreme weather events as temperatures rise: more cyclones, more storms, more floods and more droughts. Before 2000, cyclones made landfall along Myanmar’s coast once every three years. Since the turn of the century, cyclones have made landfall every year.

In spite of this, the picture is not that bleak. The plethora of economic opportunities offered to the Asian countries, specifically Myanmar, is headed by a ‘firming recovery’ in the form of major industrial economies and the government’s continued reforms. As per the Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (MCCA), a joint initiative of the UN-Habitat and UNEP, Myanmar is one the fewest countries in the LDCs who take climate change seriously, especially when it comes to adaptation. Climate change is a reality which needs to be addressed urgently and Myanmar is doing relatively well in this regard. To take the issue in an optimistic manner, the country’s economy is expected to accelerate at around 7.7% in 2017 and to 8.0% in 2018, while the current account deficit will widen the imports, growing faster than the exports. The recent government effort in strengthening the legal and regulatory framework has also helped in enhancing the conducive environment for private businesses and investments, which will, in turn, drive further economic growth. Consolidating the country’s legal and regulatory framework is crucial to develop a vibrant private sector and tap Myanmar’s huge growth potential, the report says.

The link between economic opportunity and climate change is something that has to be given immediate attention by the Asian countries, especially Myanmar. The job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by subsiding the global temperature to below 1.5 degrees Celsius is undoubtedly a herculean task but it would result in various opportunities for the international community. According to various reports released by leading media agencies, Asia has already become a leader in clean energy investment, with the lead was taken by China investing humongously in renewable energy. This raises the question of funding for climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Myanmar is already receiving external assistance from a couple of entities, such as Global Environment Facility, the EU, and bilateral development partners. It is also said that the country will have access to future funding through the Green Climate Fund, which distributes the annual $100 billion contributions made by advanced economies, agreed at COP21 in Paris last year.

The country also offers a plethora of opportunities for investors, stakeholders and private sector involvement. Vast natural gas deposits, innumerable suitable locations for hydropower generation, and unexplored potential for solar and wind power generation are some of the key areas which would definitely attract investment in the coming years. In this regard, Myanmar’s power sector puts forward a plethora of opportunities to both foreign and local investors. According to the government reports, the installation of considerable additional capacity to the current 4,422 MW as well as the rapid construction of transmission lines are national priorities. In order to reach the objective of full national electrification until 2030, the power sector of Myanmar needs to evolve and develop in an efficient manner. The participation of both public and private sector is essential in this regard. It could also be stated that the country needs to build an effective mitigation strategy which involves not only the state but also contributions from the non-state actors, in order to procure finance and maintain coordination, at the time of financial drip.

However, the recent shift in geopolitical trends with the prominence gained by emerging economies, like China, India and Brazil certainly provides a positive push to Myanmar for constructing their economy in a sustainable way.

India’s newest IRIS Species found in Manipur

Manipur IRIS

The popular flower of Manipur, fondly known as Kombirei by the locals of Manipur has been accorded with the ‘new species’ status-Iris Laevigata Fisch. Until now it had been mistakenly named as Iris Bakeri wall. Presently, it is declining from its native habitat.Manipur IRIS Species

The recent course of its name recognition and attention stemmed from its pictures being sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens in London where it was categorized as the critically endangered species.

Species like Iris Wattii, Iris Singuinea and Iris Kumaon also inhabit the state of Manipur. However, kombirei germinates from the wetlands of Lamphelpat and Yaralpat outskirting the town of Imphal.

This mauve-blue flower has a flowering period of about 15 days in April every year and annually, it also forms an integral part of the rich tradition of Manipur’s New Year celebration as well.

Myanmar Decides to Import Timber to Save its Forests

wood

Myanmar has been a timber producing and exporting country for decades but now this nation has decided to start importing timber in order to protect its diminishing forests. Mr. Kyaw Aw, the Long a timber-producing and exporting country, Myanmar will start importing wood to protect its forests while allowing local timber companies to continue operating, the government has decided. U Kyaw Zaw, Director of the Office of the Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has stated that a plan permitting the import of raw timber from other countries has been approved. Myanmar stopped exporting timber to other countries earlier in the financial year 2014-15 though logging operations within the country were continued.

For the current financial year, logging has been temporarily banned and domestic demand for timber will be met through existing teak and hardwood stocks. The local timber traders are in favor of importing logs as the existing stock is not going to be sufficient to meet their needs. Additionally, some of the timber bought from other countries is cheaper than the domestically produced logs. Myanmar Government has considered their demands and is willing to import timber from overseas. This ban on logging is only temporary though and is expected to resume in the 2017-18 financial year.

6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Myanmar

6.9 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE ROCKS MYANMAR

An earthquake rocked Myanmar late at night on 12 April, 2016. It was a strong earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale but as it took place at an intermediate depth of around 140 km not much damage was done. The epicentre was in north-west Mandalay 396 km north of Naypyidaw. The tremors spread throughout the region and were felt as a far as eastern parts of Bangladesh and India. Prince William and his Wife Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are currently visiting Indian state of Assam. The tremors were felt at their place of stay in Kaziranga National Park as well but they are both safe and completely unharmed. Many people in eastern Indian states as a well as Bangladesh fled outside their homes fearing their safety and some were even injured as a result of the damage caused.  Some injuries and damage to property has been caused but no deaths have been reported so far.