Industrial zone waste water shows rising pollution

The level of organic pollutants in waste water at the Hlaing Tharyar and Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zones over the past two years was higher that standard specifications, according to research from the Green Motherland Development Association.

The association carried out its research between December 2013 and November 2015. It tested the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of the waste water – the amount of oxygen microbes require to metabolise organic compounds in water. The higher the level of organic compounds, the higher the amount of oxygen microbes require to break them down and the higher the chance of damage to the surrounding ecosystem.

The results of the BOD test indicated levels below that of standard specifications. But when the association tested the chemical oxygen demand (COD), another indirect measurement of the amount of organic compounds in water, the results showed levels higher than specifications.

The findings from Hlaing Tharyar were the same in 2014 and 2015 – rising levels of BOD and COD, along with rising levels of chloride, hard water and iron, U Kyaw Nyein Aye of the Green Motherland Development Association said. The levels of BOD, COD, chloride and hard water were highest in summer and winter, he said. During the wet season the levels were standard for waste water, he added.

In 2014, Yangon City Development Committee closed three factories at Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zone due to indiscriminate disposal of waste water. There are 29 industrial zones in Yangon under YCDC’s management. This includes over 300 factories that dispose of waste water.

A pre-2011 YCDC inspection found most of the factories had no systematic waste disposal system. As a result, the government implemented a systematic waste disposal plan in 2012, and is also cooperating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Waste water must be disposed of according to internationally specified standards or YCDC’s standard regulations.

“YCDC gave a waste water disposal system design to factories and ordered them to build them,” said U Aung Myint Zaw. “That project finished in 2014. Most of the industrial zone [factories] built small water treatment machines. Since then waste water has flowed through the Hlaing, Bago and Nga Moe Yeik rivers.”

The government is working with JICA to persuade factories that have not yet installed machines, and has closed factories that have failed to follow regulations, he added.

Much of the waste water from factories and workshops can reach lakes and underground sources used by people, which can be dangerous. Deforestation, water pollution and ground water disappearance are common in Myanmar – found in 10 regions and over 50 townships according to Green Motherland Development Association research.

Source: The Myanmar Times. Date: 04 January 2016