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July 18, 2019

Plastic is the enemy of rivers

  • The water that flows in rivers and lakes is an essential part of people’s lives. We come into contact with water everyday and it impacts our health, livelihood and safety. Therefore, it is imperative that we maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the rivers we depend on.
    The National Water Resources Committee (NWRC) held meeting 2/2019 on 9 July in Nay Pyi Taw where its Chairman Vice President U Henry Van Thio led discussions on developing aquatic sectors, effective management of water resources, and implementing maintenance efforts.
    Ensuring rivers and other bodies of water flow smoothly is important as it will prevent floods during the monsoon season’s heavy rains. Furthermore, they can provide safe drinking water and ample irrigation to the farmlands.
    The Ayeyawady River is the lifeblood of Myanmar and the most important of all its rivers. But now, the treasured river is facing contamination and shrinking so much that it’s causing loss of life. Statistics show that 119 tons of plastic waste is dumped into the Irrawaddy each day and it ranked as the 9th most contaminated river of the world in 2017.
    Meanwhile, the Yangon River also gets 29 tons of garbage tossed into it every day. Plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plastic containers and Styrofoam containers make the bulk of the waste polluting the river. Plastic is dangerous for both the environment and the living creatures residing in it. The small particles of plastic can enter the respiratory system of animals and impede their breathing and also threatens the delicate ecosystem of rivers and oceans.
    But the consequences don’t end there. Plastic that enters into freshwater fish consumed by humans makes its way into our digestive systems and poses a danger to millions of people as well. While no immediate harm is visible to us yet, microplastics can remain in our body and cause health concerns in the long run, especially seeing that we continue to consume contaminated aquatic food every day.
    We must band together to find a solution to the plastic crisis and we need that answer now more thane ever. Our entire lives and generations to come will be affected by the pollution that we do not control so we must see to it that we begin cleaning up our act before it is too late. And not only for us, our world and the living beings that share our planet are counting on us to save the environment.

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