Govt Blames Locals—Not Commercial Banana Plantations—For Contaminated Water

Chinese tissue culture banana plantation in Aung Myay 1 village, Waingmaw township, Kachin State

Alarming numbers of dead fish in a Waingmaw Township creek are not due to pesticides from nearby tissue culture banana plantations, representatives from the Kachin State government said on Monday.

Officials investigated reports from mid-February of dead fish in the Nam Myin Hka creek near Waingmaw’s Aung Myay 2 village, testing for 14 chemical substances. According to Dashi La Seng, the state’s minister for natural resources, the water was found to be contaminated, but he alleged that locals were responsible.

“According to the results of the investigation, we found poison in the water. I think fishermen threw poison in the water to kill the fish in the creek,” Dashi La Seng told KNG. “The dead fish were found near the place where the fishermen live. We didn't see any dead fish at the upper part of the creek—the fish were poisoned around here,” he explained.

Bawm Sau, who lives in Waingmaw Township, said that he and other locals believe that the fish were killed by pesticide runoff into the creek used in a 100-acre China-backed tissue culture banana plantation two miles away. The dead fish reportedly began appearing on February 6.

This is the second such incident involving unusual numbers of dead fish in the Nam Myin Hka creek; the first occurred in 2013.