Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coral Reefs Being Destroyed for International Gas and Oil Projects in Arakan

Kyauk Pru: A ship from the Shwe Gas Project has been destroying the coral reef along the coast in Kyaukpru Township in western Burma's Arakan State using dynamite, report local residents.

"A ship from the project has been blowing the coral reef in the sea off the coast near our village with dynamite almost every day now," said a local resident from Zinchaung Village in Kyaukpru Township.

The resident said they believe that the coral reefs are being blown up for use in the port construction on Madae Island, because the ship has been collecting the coral from the sea using cranes and sending it to the port on the island.

A person close to the project confirmed that coral was being destroyed by the project's ships along the coast in Kyaukpru. However, he said the coral reefs are being destroyed to make way for the oil tankers coming to the port that is being constructed by China on the island.

"The depth of water that a ship can draw around the port is just 15 meters, and there must be at least 30 meters of water for the access of the oil tankers that have capacity to carry three lakh gallons of oil, so the undersea coral reefs and rocks around and on the way to the port are being destroyed to make way for those oil tankers," he said.

Because the coral reef is being blown up, the ecosystem and local sea life in the offshore areas is being severely damaged.

The source added that the coral and rocks being blown up are also being gathered and used in construction of the port.

The coral reef are natural shields from tidal surges along the coast in the area and the residents are worried about natural disasters in the future because the reef along their coastline is being destroyed by the project.

The coral reef that is being destroyed with dynamite is nearly three miles long and situation in the sea near Zinchaung Village on the side of the Kyaukpru - Rambree Road.

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