This article references the Myanmar-Burmese Article “ငေါ့ချမ်းခမြစ်ရေ နောက်ကျိရခြင်းနှင့် ဌာနေများ၏ အနာဂတ်” by Khin Sandar Nyunt.
Ngong Chan Kha River Myanmar
This article is about the Ngong Chan Kha River which flows from the northeastern Kachin State. Kachin is a very beautiful and cool destination of Myanmar. There are many famous snow-capped mountains there and a trekkers' favorite choice. Besides, Kachin state is the origin of many Myanmar Rivers including Ngong Chan Kha River. As People are living on the bank of Ngong Chan Kha River Basin, we can see that Ngong Chan Kha is our life.
Ngong Chan Kha River is situated in the northeastern part of Kachin State. The Himalayas serve as the king of mountains for Kachin State. The highest peak in Myanmar, Hkakabo Razi, is situated here as well. Kachin is also home to Indawgyi Lake, which is the biggest lake in Southeast Asia, as well as the source of the Ayeyarwady River. Kachin owns very beautiful sceneries including Ngong Chan Kha River surrounded with rich biodiversity. But at the moment, it is not like what you think.
The condition and surrounding environment of the river is in an emergency situation for the local people especially because of mining activities going on in Myanmar's Kachin state. This article highlights the current situation of the river and about the residents calling for an end to these practices. The Ngong Chan Kha River Basin which is located in northeastern Kachin State is in an emergency state. Radio Free Asia's December 2018 report disclosed the mining crisis in Myanmar's Kachin state. Local residents are begging for a halt to these activities.
Ngong Chan Kha basin area is currently lacking in forest conservation, has many mineral mines, and water poisoning problems caused by waste materials along the stream.
The Ngong Chan Kha River Delta is located in the eastern part of Kachin State, the country's eastern part and is bordered on the east by China. The northeast hills of the Himawinta Region are 1,000 to 16,000 feet high. Pheemaw Hills in China-Myanmar are the source of the Ngong Chan Kha River. The KathoLiKon Hills have two rivers that eventually become one and form the Ngong Chan Kha. Downstream from the highland mountains, there are many tributaries that flow into this river which then snakes through valleys at the base of said mountains.
There are magnificent and extensive highland terraced plantations along the basin. The three different terrestrial habitats namely icy-mountain range, cool temperature and subtropical forest can conserve their characteristic flora and fauna. Flora and fauna distribution is always related to their habitat or environs. According to research, there are about 100 types of local rice being cultivated here at the moment like wild rice and red rice. The Nong tribe (also known as the Lachid) are from this area. The Maru tribes established villages and stayed for more than 2,000 years along this Delta or basin. Later, the Lisu people also settled in this area. They possess their own language which is famous for their large population including Yunnan (Southwestern China), Northern Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand and a small part of India. The total population is more than 4,500 people from 17 villages who are still settled in the basin.
Current Condition with Deforestation and Dam Projects
In many books, the beauty and extraordinary biodiversity of the far northeast region has been described in detail. On the other hand, from the period after 1990, along with the change in the economic policy of the military government, the export of teak wood from the area increased.
Timber exports on the Ngong Chan Kha River have increased as a result of the new economic policy. Following the ceasefire agreement between the Kachin Ethnic Armed Organization (KIA) and the junta in 1994, which permitted junta officials and their economic interests to participate, timber production exploded. Currently, the forests along the river basin are thin and wild banana trees dominate. The claim of being one of the top places in the world with rich biodiversity has now become just a myth. The Ngong Chan Kha region that I used to know through books is far away from the actual Ngong Chan Kha region.
We have observed no clean water from the point where Nongchan Kha River starts at Phimao-Sol Lao intersection, throughout its journey to Phimao on China's border. From March 30th to April 3rd, when traveling alongside the river, I noticed that the water was black in some places and dark brown in others. The mines and small-scale metal factories continue to pollute the water and habitat of several species. Along with the pollution of these streams and rivers. The water and food sources for people and animal species are becoming increasingly limited.
River condition and current problem
The Ngong Chan Kha flows from the east to west, beginning at the border of China and flowing through a highland valley in the west where it meets the Mekong. The far eastern part of the river is located on the Myanmar-Yunnan (China) border. As a result, Ngo Chan Kha begins and finishes in Myanmar, but it shares a border with China (Yunnan State) in the East area. It is a river that flows over borders. The waste water from China's province was one of the reasons that makes the water dark.
Residents said that one of the reasons behind the river is the waste water from the Chinese province."There is a metal refinery at within the borders of China. The factory is located on the east bank of the Nong Chan Kha River on the Chinese side and on the right side (upstream) of the Gur-lan village on the Burmese side. The river water upstream of the metal refinery is clear blue-green, and the water downstream of the plant is red due to the chemical waste from the plant.
If you look closely at the satellite map, you can see small factory-like structures next to the Ngocchan Kha River on the border (see photo below). As the Nong Chan Kha River is a cross-border river, it has already been presented in the above report (2009) that the matter should be discussed and negotiated between Yunnan State and Kachin State, which border the border.
However, even today, metal waste water still flows into the river. The river is still polluted.
Similarly, along the Ngong Chan Kha River in the border of Burma, a group of small buildings believed to be metal factories are also found along the road from Tun Shin village to Phi Maw region. The local who came with us confirmed that they are metal factories. Near Nu Kyout village, near Nuzunpaw village (before Phifo area), black water can be seen flowing from a cluster of small buildings believed to be a metal factory on the mountain towards Ng Chan Kha River at the foot of the mountain.
The muddy Ngong Chan Kha River is caused by metal mining. The river's position is also linked to events on the other side of the border. Furthermore, not only do we need to investigate metal blocks within our own country, but it is essential that we talk and cooperate with other countries as well (particularly China) Or you could say regions (Yunnan and Kachin) will be the source of river pollution.
Voice of the locals
"Nong Chan Kha is a cup of curry for the locals. Now, the water becomes brown and there are metal digs. I dare not eat fish. The water is poisoned. Some still use it for their survival. If the water is poisoned, our people will die out " the local people said while speaking out.
Suggestion for Biodiversity Conservation
With the geographical terrain, the Ngong Chan Kha Basin is situated. According to the socio-economic situation, Politically, there is less communication with other regions. This region is rarely heard of. After the ceasefire between the government army and the Kachin armed group in 1994, timber production ; from this time there has been an increase in metal mining, and according to economic rights and territorial control, local armed groups have increased? The interplay of interests between the military and their respective businessmen is complex. In this way, this article mentions the need for outstanding examples for habitat conservation of Ngong Chan Kha River.
Human activities, such as the following, can degrade or destroy important river and floodplain habitat:
- When a shoreline is hard by sediment supply, it causes the water to move faster and over time will wear away at the land. This also has a negative impact on fish populations that rely on those shores for their habitat.
- Riverside development can help to decrease shade, which might result in hotter seas that endanger a variety of species. Paved surfaces also contribute to increased polluted runoff from roads, parking lots, and roofs.
- If rivers are overused, they can run dry before reaching the sea, which destroys important habitat.
- Outdated farming methods are causing an influx of harmful chemicals into rivers and streams. Excessive nutrients and harmful chemicals can build up in waterways, resulting in algal blooms and "dead zones" where aquatic life is unable to live.
- Untreated human waste may enter rivers when combined stormwater and sewage systems overflow. These overflows can cause disease and add nutrient pollution, which in turn causes algae overgrowth. It can be toxic to fish and people.
People work to repair any damage caused by human activity and prevent additional harm by restoring river habitat that has been affected:
- Removing dams and other obstructions to fish migration
- Restoring riverbanks and floodplains is a powerful way to reduce erosion and buffer extreme flooding while also providing seasonal habitat for aquatic life.
- Reconnecting wetlands and estuaries allows for water movement, keeps the area clean, and provides a place to eat and stay for young fish.
- By reconnecting wetland ecosystems, we improve water quality and provide habitat for young fish populations.
In order to achieve our future goals, we must partner with other organizations, look for environmental conservation projects, set up a knowledge sharing section, and engage in scientific research. In addition to reducing polluted runoff, we can also work together with volunteers to clean up and restore the Ngong Chan Kha River.