Pesticides Linked to Deadly Stream Pollution in Waingmaw

Dead fish in N Gam Hka stream in Waingmaw banana plantation, Kachin state

Pesticides in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township are polluting nearby streams and killing fish and livestock, locals say.

Workers on the 3,000-acre tissue culture banana plantation around Wa Ra Yang village in Hpung Tang Yang village tract reportedly used the pesticide to try to catch fish in the N Gam Hka stream on November 16, according to local witnesses. Fish have been dying in the stream in the days since.

“When I went there, I found cans off chemical pesticide around the stream,” N’dau Tu Lum, an eyewitness and local, said of the site where the unorthodox fishing practice allegedly took place. “Local people use water from this stream. Cattle drink water from this stream. Now the whole village is really worried about it,” he told KNG.

There are some 40 households in Wa Ra Yang, all of which rely on the stream’s water as their drinking supply. They noticed an increase in the number of dead fish at the end of October, and that cattle have also died after consuming water from the N Gam Hka.

“We have seen the death of animals from the stream including big and small animals. We are worried about the life of human beings… The respective authorities need to investigate it,” local Maran La Nu said.

The ward administration team has since carried out an investigation and found evidence that the pesticide is being used near or in the stream, but are not sure by whom.

“We have done an investigation into this case. We don’t know who the perpetrators are,” Mashang Htang Ying, the headman of Wa Ra Yang, told KNG. “This kind of pesticide is used in agriculture… People can easily buy this kind of pesticide in shops. Therefore, it could be anyone.”

KNG contacted many agriculture companies active in the area for comment but received no response at the time of reporting.

The cultivation of tissue culture bananas on plantations around Aung Myae 2 village in Waingmaw was linked to the death of fish in local streams in February.

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