EIA: Reflections from communities in Myanmar
Environmental Impact Assessments, or EIAs can be a crucial tool for communities who face harmful development projects. ERI uses this video in grassroots trainings to show how communities can use the public consultations during an EIA process to make their voices heard. The video focuses on the story of the Heinda tin mine in Myanmar. Since 2008, pollution from the Heinda mine has contaminated water supplies in nearby villages, with villagers reporting health problems and damage to their farmlands. The company operating the Heinda mine, Myanmar Pongpipat Company Ltd (MPC), was ordered to conduct an EIA. But as villagers in the affected communities saw that EIA laws were not being followed, they refused to participate in public consultations for the company, preventing the EIA from moving forward. Communities across the Mekong and elsewhere can look to the Heinda case to see one method of influencing the course of development projects in their area.
“We observed that the company used English language and technical environmental engineering terms that could not be understood by the community. When they did this, people in the community stood up and complained that they cannot accept it like this.”
– Aye Mon Thu, Dawei Probono Lawyers Network
“Public participation is central to the meaning of an EIA. If there is no public participation, the whole process of an EIA is meaningless.”
– Than Than Aye, ERI Myanmar Legal Coordinator
“I want to see that there are no losses or impacts for both villagers and company. If the villagers are impacted, the company must take responsibility for that.”
– Daw Khin San, Myaung Pyo Villager